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Matters of the heart

Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  September 2, 2006 01:04 PM

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Addressing his health for the first time since he had a reoccurrence of the chest discomfort that first cropped up on Aug. 19 and forced him to fly back home during the Red Sox recent West Coast trip, David Ortiz said that he is confident that his heart is healthy enough for him to resume his career.

Ortiz said doctors told him they're 97 percent sure that he doesn't have anything wrong with his heart.

"The most important thing to know right now is that I have no problem with my heart," said the Red Sox slugger. "That's the best answer I've had in the last couple of days. The doctors came to me and they tell me, 'Hey, your heart is fine. We're just going to keep on tracking and see if you get the pain back. We're not going to tell you we're 100 percent sure it had nothing to do with you're heart, but we might be 97 percent sure that it doesn't have anything to do with you're heart.'"

Ortiz flew back to Boston on Tuesday and was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital for a battery of tests. He was released on Thursday. He was briefly hospitalized on Aug. 19, during the Yankees five-game sweep at Fenway. That's when the chest pains first started.

Ortiz is still awaiting medical clearance to play and has not resumed any baseball-related activities.

Red Sox medical director Dr. Thomas Gill said that Ortiz will be monitored over the weekend -- Big Papi is currently outfitted with a medical device that allows him to push a button if he experiences chest pain again, recording the episode electronically for doctors to review -- and then his status will be reevaluated on Monday, when the team's doctors consult with the cardiac specialists who interviewed and examined him.

"I don't know I might pinch hit today. I feel that good," said Ortiz with a smile.

Gill refused to comment on the direct causes of Ortiz's chest pain, but the MVP candidate said he thinks it was just due to stress.

However, Ortiz said that when the chest pain cropped up again while the team was in the San Francisco Bay Area, he was concerned it could be something more serious.

"I freaked out because it was in my chest. It was in my heart. I had no idea where it was coming from," said Ortiz, who described the discomfort as a warm feeling in his heart and chest. With so many things going on with heart attacks and things like that you don't want to miss a beat about anything, so I came down here and they took care of business."

Ortiz said he has not experienced any chest pain since he was given medication earlier this week. Gill would not reveal what medication was given to Ortiz. Ortiz said he is no longer on the medication. Beta-Blockers are commonly given to patients who experience abnormal heart rhythms.

"The main thing is I'm feeling good," said Ortiz. "And hopefully I'll be back on the field soon."

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