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Ortiz is unlikely to return this season

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / September 10, 2012
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Two weeks after undergoing a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection on his strained right Achilles’, David Ortiz appeared no closer to getting back on the field before the end of the season.

It prompted speculation Sunday that the Red Sox were close to shutting down their popular designated hitter for the remainder of this lost season.

“I would assume that,’’ said manager Bobby Valentine before the game against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park. “Unless David decides he’s totally pain free [he won’t play]. As of our last conversation, he feels much better, and the shot seems to have really worked. But I think it takes a couple of weeks for that to totally set in.’’

With 21 games remaining, including eight at home, it seems unlikely Ortiz, who will be a free agent at season’s end, will recover before the home finale.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit, sitting out for this long and watching baseball,’’ said Ortiz, who has missed 50 games this season in two stints on the disabled list.

“It’s not even been fun watching baseball anymore, sitting out this long. It is what it is, right? Just got to wait.’’

Asked if he would have the final say in whether to shut it down for the season, Ortiz said, “I think it all depends on the doctors, what they think will be the right thing to do.

“Like I told them, I just don’t want to have any more setbacks. I want to make sure that I resolve this problem. Last time, I had that setback, I basically [asked] them, ‘Do I need surgery for this?’ and they were like, ‘No, you don’t need surgery,’ so I was like, ‘OK, let’s fix this,’ that way I don’t have to worry about it anymore.

“That’s what they’re doing right now. I’m pretty sure that our doctors are going to do whatever it takes to get me to where I want to be, and we’re on the way right now.’’

Ortiz was spotted before the game wearing a black walking boot as he guided a boy from the Make-A-Wish program around the field.

“I worked with some people who were big fans, who really loved everything he did,’’ Valentine said when asked about what he had heard about Ortiz before taking the job. “My association with him, it’s off the charts what I’ve seen. I couldn’t have expected more and he couldn’t have delivered more — on, off, or in between the field.

“He’s a difference-maker.’’

That much was evident when Ortiz returned from his first stint on the DL Aug. 24 and went 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBIs in a 4-3 victory over the Royals at Fenway. After missing 35 games, Ortiz didn’t seem to miss a beat when he stroked a two-run single in his first at-bat to give the Sox a 2-0 lead.

He doubled to center in his second at-bat, but experienced some discomfort in his heel as he rounded the bases. Three days later, the Sox placed Ortiz back on the DL (retroactive to Aug. 25).

Two days after that, Ortiz said he underwent a PRP injection in his right heel, a painful process that required him to be off his feet for the last two weeks.

“I’m feeling pretty good after the PRP thing,’’ he said. “But this is an injury where time is pretty much what you need to heal. I think that’s the goal right now, make sure that I don’t have to worry about this anymore. We don’t see the point of coming back and not being ready yet.’’

Ortiz, who pushed to get back on the field from his first stint on the DL, was asked if he intended to try to push to get back before the home finale.

“To be honest with you, what I’m looking for right now is to make sure that I heal up the right way,” he said. “I pushed it once and it didn’t work, so I’m not going to push again. If I’m good to go, I’m good to go.’’

Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com.

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