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Red Sox notebook

Eager to get in swing

Ortiz frustrated his return to lineup is taking so long

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Nick Cafardo
Globe Staff / June 26, 2008

David Ortiz estimated it would be another 2-3 weeks before he returns to the lineup after he took 25 easy swings off a tee at Fenway Park.

"I am disappointed," Ortiz said. "I want to be playing. But there's not too much I can do about it but wait. Of course I want to be out there swinging like I normally do. But it's a healing process."

Ortiz, who partially tore a tendon sheath in his left wrist in a game May 31, still is experiencing pain, but "not as bad as it was. When I got injured, I couldn't even hold on to my bat. Now I can at least swing slow without much problem."

Manager Terry Francona described the swinging session as "not real aggressive, that wasn't the purpose. There's got to be a place to start and before we got on the road the [medical staff] wanted to see him do it. It'll be a little slow at first, which it's supposed to be, but everything is kind of going according to plan."

Francona, in gauging Ortiz's level of frustration, said, "Sometimes players want to go from zero to 100, which you can't. But down deep I think David probably knows that it went pretty well. He just wants to be there now."

Ortiz is expected to join the team in Houston, where the Sox begin a three-game set tomorrow. Francona said the plan for Ortiz will be to "progressively build up in reps and intensity, leading to soft-toss [batting practice] and eventually into some games."

Ortiz elaborated on his comment about being disappointed, saying, "It's not a step back. It's actually positive because when I got hurt I couldn't even hold a bat. Now I'm getting to the point where I can swing slowly, so they know what point I'm at in my progress.

"I knew it was going to feel like that. That's what the doctor wanted me to do, take swings slowly until I get to the form where I can be ready to play."

It appears Ortiz will have to go on a rehab assignment to the minors before he rejoins the lineup.

Drew takes a seat

J.D. Drew got the night off against Diamondbacks lefthander Randy Johnson, against whom he was 1 for 8, after his third consecutive hitless game Tuesday. Drew was 0 for his last 13 after tearing it up earlier in the month. Drew will be back in there tomorrow night in Houston, where he is hitting .280 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in 75 at-bats . . . Speaking of Johnson, his presence in a Yankees uniform a few years back led the Sox to move a Stop & Shop sign in right-center field. Sox batters had complained that because Johnson is so tall, the ball would get lost in the sign's background . . . According to sources with knowledge of the Red Sox' negotiations with Sarasota and Lee counties concerning a new spring training facility, both are very much in the running. The city of Sarasota is attempting to attract the Sox to a facility that would include a new ballpark and a minor league complex that could house a Florida State League team. Lee County is pursuing an Estero, Fla., location with the Sox, and saying it would take about two years to build a new facility. The Sox can opt out of their lease with the city of Fort Myers after spring training 2009.

Crisp ruling soon?

Major League Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said there has been no ruling on Coco Crisp's appeal of his seven-game suspension, but one would likely come today. Francona didn't seem too concerned. "It's going to happen," he said. "Whenever they tell us, we'll live with it and we'll do what we've always done all year, somebody else will play and we'll try not to let it get in the way of us winning." Crisp, who had three doubles last night, said of his hearing earlier this week, "It was friendly, I guess you could say. It was just a conversation. It was the first time I'd been in a situation like that so I would guess with the off day, I might hear by Friday." . . . Kevin Youkilis, who entered Tuesday night's game as a defensive replacement for Brandon Moss at first base in the ninth inning, was back in the starting lineup last night. "He wrote me this morning and said, 'Hey, I'm ready to go.' " said Francona. "I said, 'OK, that's good news.' He just looks like he got beat up." . . . Mike Timlin, who was placed on the disabled list last Saturday, retroactive to June 17, because of tendinitis in his left knee, will pitch an inning tonight at Pawtucket. "He had a real good bullpen [Tuesday]," said Francona. "I think it will be great for him to pitch a little bit. Sometimes you can take advantage of some time to make something better." . . . Kevin Cash, who caught Tim Wakefield last night, is excited about the season of PawSox knuckleballer Charlie Zink, who is 8-2 with a 2.33 ERA in 16 starts. "Tim has done it a lot longer and might be one of the greatest knuckleball pitchers," said Cash. "Charlie throws predominantly knuckleballs but can throw a fastball in the high 80s to 90 miles per hour. I would say that Wake's knuckleball probably has more of that late-breaking action. But Charlie really works at it and it's great to see how well he's doing." . . . Members of the Roush Fenway Racing team were at Fenway last night. Sox owner John Henry's Fenway Sports Group has an ownership stake in the team.

Globe correspondent Baxter Holmes contributed.

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