Ortiz out of the lineup again

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / August 26, 2012
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Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who returned to the lineup Friday night after missing 35 games because of a strained right Achilles’ tendon, was again out for Saturday night’s game against the Royals at Fenway Park.

Manager Bobby Valentine said Ortiz “was a little sore’’ after going 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBIs in Friday night’s 4-3 victory over Kansas City.

“He’s not in the lineup and we’re going to evaluate his situation again,’’ Valentine said. “It bothered him. It wasn’t as pain-free as he was hoping.’’

“We were planning on him like playing every other day, possibly,’’ added Valentine, who started Ryan Lavarnway at DH, hitting seventh, Saturday night. “I’d be very happy with him just as a pinch hitter. Obviously, if it’s going to jeopardize his health it would not be done.’’

After Friday night’s game, Ortiz acknowledged he still had some pain, which was evident when he stroked his first hit but jogged to first base.

“I’m still having issues with my foot,’’ he said at the time. “After I hit that double my second at-bat, the next thing I was thinking about was how my foot was going to react afterwards. I had that in my head, so we’ll see how it goes the next couple of days.’’

Ortiz said he “forced’’ the team’s medical staff to give him clearance Friday night, feeling compelled to do so after the Sox had gone 13-22 in his absence, and the 10 players who started at DH produced no home runs.

“I wanted to give it a try to see how it would feel, especially with the team and how things were going, and the team having issues with the offense,’’ Ortiz said.

Valentine was asked if it would be in Ortiz’s best interest to shut it down for the season.

“I think what’s best for David is to make sure that everyone knows he’s healthy for the rest of the season,’’ he said. “It wouldn’t be my shutting him down. If, in fact, that’s what the medical staff and what David thought was right and best for him this year and for his career, then that might have to happen.’’

Valentine was asked if it was difficult to weigh the needs of the team vs. the long-term consequences of continuing to play Ortiz.

“The medical staff has assured me, Ben [Cherington, general manager], and David that a rupture [of the Achilles’ tendon] is highly unlikely,’’ Valentine said. “He’s in the same category as you are, as far as it just rupturing because of running.

“But there’s some pain to deal with. If, in fact, upon further review, that possibility [of further injury] increases, I would think we wouldn’t allow it to happen.’’

Cook the choice

Although Josh Beckett was scheduled to start Saturday night, Aaron Cook was tabbed to pitch on three days of rest after the Sox finalized a blockbuster trade with the Dodgers Saturday that sent Beckett to Los Angeles along with Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto.

Cook absorbed a 5-3 loss to the Angels Tuesday, allowing five runs (four earned) on 11 hits in five innings, the bullpen submitting four scoreless and hitless innings.

“I think the bullpen will be stressed tonight,’’ Valentine said before the game. “Hopefully we’ll be able to maneuver through it OK.’’

Sunday, lefthander Felix Doubront (10-6, 4.70), who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 18 with a right knee contusion, is expected to start. Monday, Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-3, 6.65 ERA), who has been on the DL since July 3 with a right trapezius strain, is expected to be activated to make his sixth start of the season.

Doubront was activated Saturday while outfielder Daniel Nava was placed on the 15-day DL with a left wrist sprain. In addition, righthander Junichi Tazawa, who had been sent down to Triple A Pawtucket Friday when Ortiz returned to the lineup, was recalled for his third stint in Boston. Also brought up were shortstop Jose Iglesias and outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin.

“We’ll go with Doubront [Sunday], whom we can’t really expect a complete game out of, and Daisuke on Monday,’’ Valentine said. “So there’s some pitching concerns right now.’’

Gomez homers

Mauro Gomez started at first base in place of Gonzalez. It was Gomez’s second consecutive start at first after he was inserted into Friday night’s game as a last-minute replacement for Gonzalez.

“Found about five minutes before the game,’’ said Gomez, who found himself occupying Gonzalez’s old locker. “I know I can play defense, but the big thing for me is going to be my bat.’’

Gomez hit the first homer of his major league career when he belted a solo shot off Jeremy Guthrie to pull the Sox within 3-1 in the second inning. It snapped Guthrie’s streak of 23 scoreless innings.

First baseman James Loney, acquired from the Dodgers along with two minor leaguers and two players to be named, was not due in Boston until Sunday. Loney, 28, batted .254 with four home runs and 33 RBIs, 32 runs, and 23 walks in 114 games with the Dodgers this season, hitting .301 in 20 starts since the All-Star break.

“Not a real strong plan yet,’’ Valentine said of the team’s approach at first base. “If we have James here in uniform, he’ll definitely be part of that plan.’’

His big chance

Scott Podsednik, who entered Saturday night having hit safely in 10 of his 11 starts at Fenway, a stretch that included seven multi-hit efforts, said he was looking at the rest of the season as an audition for a potential starting role in the outfield, after the Sox dealt Crawford. “At my age, I’m sure a lot of teams are wondering if I can get it done at 36, so I look at it as kind of a tryout so to speak to try and get a job next year,” he said. “With that being said, I’m not going to go out and put any more pressure on myself, I’ll just go out and play the game. But, yeah, I’m sure the way I perform this last month is going to have an impact on my situation going into next spring training” . . . The Sox recognized 11 Olympic athletes before the game, including gold medalists Tina Charles and Asjha Jones of the University of Connecticut (women’s basketball), Wakefield’s Kayla Harrison (judo), and Needham’s Aly Raisman (women’s gymnastics).

Michael Vega can be reached at

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