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Red Sox notebook

Ortiz is cooling his heel

He hopes to play on this road trip

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / August 18, 2011

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David Ortiz sat out yesterday’s 4-0 loss to the Rays at Fenway Park - the third straight game he has missed with bursitis in his right heel - but expressed hope of returning to the lineup before the end of the Red Sox’ eight-game road trip that begins tonight in Kansas City.

Asked if he had ever experienced an injury like this, Ortiz replied, “It’s the first time. But the doctors say it’s pretty normal for people who exercise and things like that. They deal with that every day, so it’s not like I have an Achilles’ problem or anything.

“It’s just aggravation from running and doing all the other stuff. I think I should be playing by the end of the road trip, hopefully. I’m looking forward to that.’’

Ortiz, who donned a gray walking boot before departing the clubhouse, said he began experiencing pain in Seattle Sunday.

“It’s been bothering me for a little while,’’ he said. “The last game we played in Seattle was when I really started feeling it. The day off it was all right, but [Tuesday] I couldn’t run. I was limping really bad and the doctor checked me out and I’m just going to get some treatment.’’

Ortiz has left a huge void in the Sox lineup.

Before the three-game set against the Rays, Ortiz had hit .500 (13 for 26) with 3 home runs and 7 RBIs over a seven-game hitting streak.

While he sat out Tuesday’s twin bill, Jed Lowrie and Carl Crawford combined to go 0 for 6 with four strikeouts (three by Crawford) as the DH’s.

Yesterday, Adrian Gonzalez made his second start at DH, and went 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout.

“He’s a huge bat in the order for us,’’ said Dustin Pedroia, who batted cleanup on his 28th birthday yesterday, going 1 for 3. “We need to get him back as soon as he can.’’

Miller rotates back in Lefthander Andrew Miller will return to the starting rotation tomorrow night against the Royals and make his ninth start of the season.

Miller went 4-1 with a 5.36 ERA in his eight starts, winning his first three decisions, before being deployed to the bullpen and making a pair of relief appearances.

“I’m looking forward to getting back out there,’’ said Miller, who threw an extended side session yesterday. “I’ve definitely been through pretty similar situations before where I’ve gone to the bullpen as a long guy, and fortunately we’ve pitched pretty well where we haven’t needed a long guy.’’

Manager Terry Francona said he would likely monitor Miller’s pitch count.

“He’s thrown and warmed up a lot and hasn’t necessarily been in games,’’ Francona said. “Say he throws 85-90 pitches, I just think he comes out of that start a little more sore than normal - or ‘stiff’ is probably a better word.’’

Said Miller, “I’ve just got to go in there and attack the zone.’’

Big step today Ryan Westmoreland, the outfield prospect who underwent brain surgery in March 2010, will take a major step forward today. According to Sox officials, Westmoreland will step in the batter’s box in Fort Myers, Fla., and face live pitching for the first time since his surgery. For now, he will only be allowed to track pitches and not swing at them. Westmoreland, who has been facing pitches from a machine, wrote on Twitter, “God doesn’t deal cards to people who can’t handle them. BIG day.’’

Jenks on schedule Bobby Jenks continues to make progress toward throwing live batting practice. The righthanded reliever, on the disabled list since July 8 with left back tightness, threw a side session Tuesday and is scheduled for another today in Fort Myers. The plan is to have him throw three side sessions before moving on to live BP. “That was the original plan and I think we’re still [on] that,’’ Francona said. “Again, he missed five days [when he was ill], and I don’t know that we necessarily move it up, just being that sick. I don’t know if that was going to help. He lost a ton of weight and wasn’t feeling good, so I think we’re on schedule.’’ . . . Jacoby Ellsbury’s stolen base in the third inning was his 32d of the season and 168th of his career, tying Carl Yastrzemski.

Extra, extra Six of the seven hits the Rays had yesterday went for extra bases (four doubles, two homers). Tampa would have gone 7 for 7 were it not for a scoring change on Johnny Damon’s first-inning flare to right that was changed from a double to a single and error by Darnell McDonald . . . The sixth Futures at Fenway minor league doubleheader will be Saturday, with the Double A Portland Sea Dogs taking on the Binghamton Mets at 1, followed by the Pawtucket Red Sox facing the Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple A affiliate of the Washington Nationals . . . Bruins forward Milan Lucic was at Fenway to promote his Rock and Jock Softball Classic next Wednesday at LeLacheur Park in Lowell. For ticket information, go to www.rockandjocksoftball.org.

Peter Abraham of the Globe staff contributed. Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com.

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