There are a few tid-bits from pregame to get to today, and we’ll start a handful of health/rehab updates:
-Rocco Baldelli will play designated hitter in a minor league rehab game “Monday-ish,” manager Terry Francona said. Baldelli has done “pretty much everything,” he said, and “I’m happy with how I’m feeling.” The Sox just need to pin down a schedule and a spot for him to play. Triple A Pawtucket has a home game Monday. If Baldelli plays at McCoy Stadium, it’ll be his first game there since the final game of his high school career, when he led Bisop Hendricken to a victory with two home runs.
-Daisuke Matsuzaka will throw a side session Saturday, and he is scheduled to pitch in Pawtucket on Tuesday. He’ll throw three innings and/or 45-50 pitches. He’ll throw at least two rehab games, and probably more, before he is ready to return to the Red Sox. “He tested out really well with arm strength today,” Francona said. “He is starting to throw the ball with some velocity.”
-Mark Kotsay will DH tomorrow with Pawtucket and play outfield the next day. Kotsay is close to rejoining the team roughly on schedule. The best hope in spring training was that he’d come back by around May 1, and barring unforseen complications in Triple A, he will.
-John Smoltz will join the Sox in Tampa Bay tomorrow. He’ll rehab with the team after experiencing a setback in extended spring training.
Aside from the various updates on the walking wounded, the primary topic was that May had dawned and David Ortiz is still stuck on zero home runs. Ortiz has not hit a home run in 101 regular-season at-bats dating back to last season, and he’s 0 for 87 at-bats this year in 24 games.
Just to put that further in perspective, there are 259 players who have hit a home run in the majors this year, and David Ortiz is not one of them.
“What I don’t want to get stuck on is, it’s the number zero,” Francona said. “You know, what he doesn’t need do is — I’m sure he probably does think about it. I’m sure he gets reminded about it. I don’t want to be adding to that. I firmly believe if he has really good at-bats, I think when you look up at the end, he’ll be somewhere he’s supposed to be.”
Ortiz is batting .230 with 12 RBIs. His .623 OPS ranks 90th in the American League.