FORT MYERS, Fla. — It has been a little more than seven months since David Ortiz strained his right Achilles’ tendon, but he has not yet been cleared to play.
Ortiz said Friday he had a “small tear” in his Achilles’ last summer that has healed, and a recent MRI showed no difference from the tendon in his left foot. His doctors and therapists advised a gradual buildup to being able to play in a game.
“They want to get you prepared for all the pounding when you step on bases and other stuff. When you get through all those drills, you’re good to go,” Ortiz said. “We do a lot of twisting and turning, a lot of stepping hard on the one foot. I’m pretty sure that once the time comes to run the bases, I’ll be good to go.”
Ortiz was on the conditioning field in front of the clubhouse with strength and conditioning coach Pat Sandora after the Sox worked out. Ortiz ran straight ahead several times and then did some agility drills. It was at a higher intensity than previous workouts.
“I would like to be in the game tomorrow, no question,” Ortiz said. “But they’re just being smart and not trying to rush. We have another six weeks still. They want to make sure that when I’m in, there’s no setback.”
Ortiz is hopeful of playing within 7-10 days. He has been taking batting practice, fielding grounders, and lifting weights. The only obstacle to overcome is running the bases.
Ortiz is confident he will be ready to face the Yankees on Opening Day. He also has been told he is not more susceptible to rupturing his Achilles’. The treatment has given him peace of mind.
“I’m not afraid of that. If I’m afraid of that I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing,” Ortiz said. “If you have a tear, any bad move that you make it will snap. That’s not my concern anymore. I think we’ll be fine.”
Mike Carp was the Opening Day left fielder for the Mariners last season, taking his position at the Tokyo Dome before a crowd of 44,227 on March 28.
He injured his right shoulder diving for a ball hit by Kurt Suzuki in the fourth inning, trying to make a play for Felix Hernandez. Carp stayed in the game, the adrenaline keeping him going.
“I’m not coming out of the game. It’s the first day of the season,” Carp said Friday morning after arriving at Red Sox camp. “I had waited my whole life to make an Opening Day roster.”
Carp went on the disabled list the next day and didn’t play again until May 1. The injury hadn’t healed properly and Carp returned to the DL on June 11, and didn’t return until July 24.
“It took some time. It was a pretty significant injury. Toward the end of the season, that second stint on the DL really helped,” Carp said. “We did the whole rehab process over. It’s been pretty normal ever since.”
No surgery was required and Carp said he’s fully healthy. But Seattle obtained Mike Morse and Raul Ibanez, and Carp was squeezed out. The Mariners designated him for assignment Feb. 12, and on Wednesday he was traded to the Red Sox for future considerations.
Carp joins the Sox seeking a spot on the bench as a backup first baseman and left fielder. Because he’s on the 40-man roster and out of options, that might give him an advantage. But Carp first has to prove he’s a better option than Lyle Overbay, Daniel Nava, and Mark Hamilton.
“It’s anybody’s game. You have to perform. If you don’t perform, you don’t make the team,” Carp said.
Carp is 4 for 14 at Fenway Park with two home runs. That’s much too small of a sample size to be indicative of anything. But the Red Sox believe the lefthanded hitter has the kind of approach that could fit the park.
Carp took batting practice on Friday and will get a few at-bats in a simulated game on Saturday. Clay Buchholz and Franklin Morales will be pitching.
Big day for Lackey
John Lackey, 17 months removed from Tommy John elbow surgery, will start for the Sox in their Grapefruit League opener against the Rays on Saturday afternoon.
“He’s felt great physically. His arm shows the looseness we’re accustomed to seeing in his first year here,” manager John Farrell said. “I know one thing, he feels really good about himself from a physical standpoint and it’s translated into some confidence.”
Lackey is scheduled to make eight starts this spring, one more than the other starters, and will pitch only an inning on Saturday. The plan is to build up 24-27 innings by the end of March, and 95-100 pitches in a game.
Into the fire
Farrell, who angered some fans in Toronto by leaving for the Red Sox, will manage the split-squad that faces the Blue Jays in Dunedin on Monday . . . Nava celebrated his 30th birthday . . . The Sox will start Jon Lester against the Cardinals in Jupiter on Sunday. Alfredo Aceves faces the Rays on Monday in Port Charlotte with Steven Wright pitching against the Blue Jays. The starter on Tuesday at home against the Cardinals will be Ryan Dempster.