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Ortiz has plans for weekend

Lester undergoing tests at Mass. General

The voices around the gloomy Red Sox clubhouse echoed the same sentiment: Baseball's just a game.

The more important thing, said the players, is the health of their teammates and friends. From the news released yesterday, it appears as if David Ortiz's well-being is in good hands.

Yesterday morning, Ortiz was released from Massachusetts General Hospital, where he underwent extensive testing for an irregular heartbeat. Before last night's game, manager Terry Francona read the following statement from team medical director Thomas Gill:

``David Ortiz has undergone extensive testing at Mass. General. He was discharged and went home on Thursday morning. David is receiving continued outpatient monitoring and evaluation at this time. His return to play is pending the clearance of doctors."

The club did not have an update on the condition of pitcher Jon Lester, who was admitted to Mass. General Wednesday. During tests on his balky back, doctors discovered enlarged lymph nodes. Gill issued the following statement regarding the rookie lefthander:

``Jon Lester has been undergoing testing to determine the cause of the back pain he has been experiencing. During the course of that process, some enlarged lymph nodes were identified. Jon was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital on Wednesday for further evaluation and testing. Jon is resting comfortably."

Francona visited Lester and his family yesterday morning.

``Other than that statement, we'll probably need to stick to that to respect his privacy," Francona said. ``I think he and his family were thrown a little bit for a loop when they woke up and saw what they saw.

``I think we need to respect their privacy as much as we can."

John Lester, the pitcher's father, was reached yesterday but did not offer an update on his son's condition. Jon Lester originally injured his back during a car accident on Storrow Drive Aug. 18.

``I don't [have time to talk]," said his father. ``We're right in the middle of a whole bunch of things right here. Everything is being handled by the Red Sox people right now. We're really busy. All the press releases are going through Boston. They've requested that we go through them."

Said Hardy Jackson, one of Lester's agents at CSMG Sports, ``I have no comment on the situation. I would just hope you respect the family's wishes right now not to make a statement and give them some room and time."

Francona spoke with Ortiz yesterday and reported the slugger was very upbeat, as was the Sox' medical staff. Ortiz last played Sunday in Seattle, where he hit his American League-leading 47th home run.

Francona said the club did not have a timetable for Ortiz's return to the lineup, although according to the Associated Press, Ortiz told radio station Z-101 in the Dominican Republic he expects to play tomorrow. The Sox kicked off a 10-game homestand against Toronto last night.

``We sent him home to be careful," Francona said. ``To deviate from that plan now, in my opinion, would be stupid. We're not going to be stupid."

Mark Loretta, who was the designated hitter last night, said the club hasn't been distracted by the health scares to Ortiz and Lester, but acknowledged his thoughts have been with his teammates before and after recent games.

``We're looking forward to getting those guys back, particularly Ortiz," Loretta said. ``It would be a real big morale boost, which is something we need."

Gordon Edes of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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