FORT MYERS, Fla. — It has been just over seven months since David Ortiz strained his right Achilles tendon. But he has not yet been cleared to play.
How can that be?
Ortiz said today he had a "small tear" in his Achilles that has healed and a recent MRI showed no difference from the tendon in his left foot. His doctors and therapists also 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 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 this morning with strength and conditioning coach Pat Sandora. He 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 said he has had "good soreness" from workouts.
"The doctor says it's normal. I'm just doing things I wasn't able to. Your foot has to get used to it. Once you get used to it, you'll be fine."
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.
"I'm going at it. You guys see me, we're doing things every day," Ortiz said.
Ortiz is confident that he will be ready to face the Yankees on Opening Day.
"It doesn't matter what kind of injury you had. You have to go through a program to rebuild that place where you got injured," Ortiz said.
Ortiz said he has a "little bit of calcification" in his Achilles, which is going away. 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," he said. "If you have a tear, any bad move that you make it will snap. That's not my concern any more. I think we'll be fine."