red sox notebook

Ortiz takes positive steps

Weekend return is not ruled out

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / August 3, 2012
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David Ortiz is not quite ready to come off the disabled list. But he took a significant step in that direction on Thursday afternoon.

Ortiz, out since July 16 with a strained right Achilles’ tendon, took batting practice on the field and then did some agility drills under the supervision of physical therapist Dan Dyrek.

Ortiz moved laterally, did some exaggerated steps, and also quicker steps before jogging back and forth in a straight line.

Last weekend, when the Red Sox were in New York, Ortiz was unable to get through those drills. So progress is being made.

“I feel better. The guys were a little surprised with how I was moving compared with when we tried in New York,” Ortiz said. “New York was absolutely very bad. I just take a couple of steps and I couldn’t even walk through without limping.”

Ortiz estimated he was running at 50-60 percent on Thursday.

“I’m not going to be 100 percent when I come back to play, but when we start doing the power drills and I start feeling better, I think I’ll be ready to go,” he said.

Ortiz has found the treatment to be a series of stops and starts. In some cases, it left him limping then led to improvement 48 hours later. Matt Stairs, who as a player had the same injury, talked to Ortiz about what to expect.

“It’s improving,” Ortiz said. “As I work out and do different things, the following day I feel a little sore. But it’s part of the process, from what they say. [Wednesday] when I came in, I felt really good. Then we took the treatment to another level and today I came in a little sore.

“But today we take the treatment to another level, a level that I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do. It feels good, though.”

Ortiz said the last hurdle before being activated will be running at full speed, or close to it. He estimated that would be in another three or four days. He has not ruled out playing this weekend.

“If I can handle it for a couple of days, probably they might give me the green light. But we have to get there first,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz has learned that this injury requires patience in order to avoid a setback.

“This is something, it’s not a game,” he said. “It’s an injury that can put you out for a long time if you don’t take care of it.”

Beckett questionable

Josh Beckett has yet to throw since leaving Tuesday’s game with back spasms and is unlikely to start against the Twins on Sunday.

“I’d say it’s questionable for him to throw [Friday], which would then make it questionable that he would make his next start, which means he won’t make it, more than likely,” said manager Bobby Valentine.

There is no decision on whether Beckett will go on the DL or start later in the homestand. Valentine said he needed to speak with Beckett first and gauge the impact shifting of the rotation.

Valentine said Beckett felt “much improved [on Thursday], had a great night sleep. Still a little limited in his motion.”

If Beckett does not start Sunday, Franklin Morales would likely take his place.

No offense

Valentine said during a recent radio interview that the front office spoke to him about a comment he made to Will Middlebrooks earlier this season.

The rookie made two errors in an inning and Valentine sarcastically said, “Nice game, kid.”

Middlebrooks laughed it off at the time and Valentine later spoke to him about learning from mistakes, and relayed a story about a game in his career in which he committed three errors.

An unnamed person heard Valentine’s original comment and reported it to the front office. Valentine then had to explain.

“It’s the most stupid thing that I ever said on the radio program,” Valentine said. “It also was ridiculous for someone to repeat it . . . Somebody overheard it and decided that it was a very dreadful thing for a manager to ever say to a young player, and decided to repeat it a few times.”

Valentine said that he didn’t think Middlebrooks was “mortally wounded” by the comment.

Middlebrooks seemed befuddled by the contrived controversy.

“I don’t have any problem with Bobby at all,” he said. “It was just something funny.”

Boola Boola

The Sox have two former Yale players on their roster in Ryan Lavarnway and Craig Breslow. They are the first major league team to make that claim since the 1949 Red Sox, who had Frank Quinn and Sam Mele . . . Mike Aviles was out of the lineup for the fifth straight game because of turf toe. But he took grounders before the game and is ready if needed . . . Righthander Andrew Bailey, who has started his minor league rehabilitation assignment, is set to pitch again in the Gulf Coast League on Friday . . . Carl Crawford started his fifth straight game. He appears past the point of getting mandatory days off as he returns from an elbow injury.

Hall of Fame day

The Red Sox will formally induct Marty Barrett, Ellis Burks, Joe Dobson, Dutch Leonard, and Curt Schilling into the team Hall of Fame on Friday morning at Fenway along with former groundskeeper Joe Mooney and former owner John I. Taylor. Dobson, Leonard, and Taylor are being inducted posthumously. The honorees will be recognized on the field before Friday’s game against the Twins . . . Scott Podsednik refused an assignment to Triple A Reno and was released by Arizona.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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