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Ortiz shut down; Opening Day doubtful

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  March 10, 2013 04:57 PM

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. óDavid Ortiz will be shut down for at least 5 to 7 days by the Red Sox with inflammation in both of his heels. There seems to be only a slim chance that he will be ready for Opening Day.

Ortiz, 37, had an MRI on Saturday and the results were determined on Sunday by team doctors.

"It does reveal some inflammation in the bony area of the heel. He's dealing with that. That's where his discomfort is being felt. As a result, we're going to shut him down for a few days here to let that quiet down completely before we initiate any kind of baseball activities after that," manager John Farrell said.

Ortiz suffered a small tear in his right Achilles tendon last July 16. He returned from the disabled list on on Aug. 24, aggravated the injury and did not play again.

When Ortiz was signed to a two-year, $26 million deal in November, Red Sox officials said the designated hitter should be ready for spring training. But Ortiz reported to camp unable to run the bases and was restricted to low-impact exercises. Once he started running, those drills lasted only a few days before being halted by pain in both feet.

The worse of the inflammation is in the left heel. But Farrell said Ortiz has pain in both of his heels. The issue is related to to the recent increase in workout intensity, not the original Achilles tear.

"It's separate from any kind of previous issues that he dealt with," Farrel said. "It's in the bone/tendon juncture where he's feeling the inflammation and the MRI shows it in that specific area. ... I'll tell you, he's feeling it in both. But that's why we did the MRI on both heels. It's specific to that tendon connection on his left and he's feeling it on his right. But more than anything, it's been able to isolate it to that spot and not feel it on the Achilles."

Farrell speculated Ortiz could be treated by anti-inflammatory medication. He expects Ortiz to be shut down 5-7 days.

"Compared to where he was at [previously], we feel like there's progress being made. There's no question about that. Yet he's dealing with issue that we've got to give it time to clear up," Farrell said.

Farrell was asked whether there was any chance for Ortiz to be on the roster for Opening Day on April 1 in New York against the Yankees.

"I mean we're three weeks away," he said. "He's going to need at-bats. We're not forgoing Opening Day right now. But we're starting to get into an area where we've ... depending on how many days we need to shut him down, that's going to have a direct bearing on where we are come Opening Day."

In some sense, this is good news. There was fear that Ortiz could be more seriously injured.

"Absolutely, absolutely," Farrell said. "I can't say that we're completely surprised by there being some [injury]. Once baseball activities got ramped up, the volume starts to pick up, the intensity increases. We felt like there was going to be some physical effects that have to be dealt with. The bigger picture is he's improved over a year ago and progress continues to be made. Yer we're in a little bit of a bump in the road here."

Farrell thinks the results will help Ortiz.

"I think any time we can give some assurance that there's no re-injury, there's no further damage of any kind, yeah, that's got to give some peace of mind," Farrell said. "Yet the frustration exists because of not being on the field."

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