Ortiz not quite ready
He's feeling only 'so-so' in rehab
CLEVELAND — David Ortiz said a few days ago that he hoped to return to the Red Sox lineup Sunday. But after working out at Progressive Field Saturday, he acknowledged that goal was unlikely to be met.
“I don’t think so,” Ortiz said after taking batting practice on the field. “I’m only so-so.”
Ortiz was also scheduled to do some running drills but decided against it.
“Still pretty sore,” he said.
Ortiz has been out since July 17 with a strained right Achilles’ tendon. His recovery has been a series of good days followed by bad ones due to soreness. Ortiz has yet to try running the bases, which would seem to be a prerequisite to getting back in the lineup.
“We’re trying to make sure he has no setback,” manager Bobby Valentine said.
Ryan Lavarnway was the designated hitter for the second straight game Saturday night. The Sox have used seven different DHs in Ortiz’s absence with Cody Ross (nine games) getting the most time.
Through Friday, the replacement DHs have hit .283 but with no home runs and only five RBIs.
Ortiz was hitting .316 when he went on the disabled list with 23 home runs and 58 RBIs. His OPS of 1.024 still leads the American League.
Will Middlebrooks was at the ballpark early in the day before going to the Cleveland Clinic to have his fractured right wrist examined by a specialist, Dr. Thomas Graham.
The rookie third baseman was injured in the ninth inning on Friday when he was hit by a 96-m.p.h. fastball thrown by Cleveland reliever Esmil Rogers.
Middlebrooks said he expected the injury would end his season, although there is a small chance he could play in the last week.
“I want to play, but I have to do the right thing,” he said.
Middlebrooks’s 2011 season was ended by a hand injury. He played in only 13 games for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League before injuring his left thumb chasing a foul ball.
“Can’t believe this happened again,” he said.
Andrew Bailey is scheduled to pitch for Triple A Pawtucket Sunday at Buffalo. It will be his sixth and perhaps final minor league rehabilitation appearance.
Bailey, who has been out all season recovering from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament, has thrown five innings in the minors and allowed one run on six hits. He has struck out nine and walked one.
Bailey pitched Wednesday and Thursday for Pawtucket. After he pitches on Sunday, the team will determine whether he will be activated off the disabled list or pitch in another minor league game.
Bailey said last week that his thumb has fully healed and the rehab appearances were needed only to fine-tune his command.
Jon Lester, who was supposed to be the ace of the rotation, has gone seven starts without earning a win. He’ll try again Sunday when he starts against Corey Kluber, a 26-year-old rookie righthander.
Lester is 0-5 with a 7.49 earned run average in his last seven starts. His last win came on June 27 against Toronto.
The lefthander has been a little better in his last three starts, allowing 11 earned runs on 17 hits over 20⅔ innings and striking out 17.
Lester is 4-1 with a 3.53 ERA in 10 career starts against Cleveland. He has not faced the Indians since May 25, 2011 when he threw six shutout innings.
Righthander Derek Lowe, who was released by the Indians earlier this month, has signed with the Yankees and is expected to join the team Monday.
Lowe would be the seventh member of the 2004 Red Sox who went on to play at least one game with the Yankees. Mark Bellhorn, Johnny Damon, Alan Embree, Ramiro Mendoza, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Mike Myers are the others.
The Red Sox considered signing Lowe but decided against it. He had a 5.52 ERA with the Indians and a 1.69 WHIP.
Valentine travels with a mountain bike that he rides for exercise and, depending on the city, uses as transportation to the ballpark. On Friday night, after the Sox beat the Indians, Valentine was at Progressive Field well into the night preparing for Saturday’s game and discussing options to replace Middlebrooks in the lineup. When he left the park, the gate to the players’ parking lot (where he parked his bike) was locked and the attendant had gone home. “The only way to get back in was through a boiler room door that was open and I carried my bike up three flights of stairs,” Valentine said. Valentine then rode through the concourse, looking for an exit to the street. Finding none, he used an emergency exit and briefly set off an alarm . . . Alfredo Aceves fielded grounders at second base during the final portion of batting practice. Third base coach Jerry Royster said Aceves makes that a habit and considers himself a good infielder. Mark Melancon, a shortstop in high school, is a solid glove in the infield, Royster said.