Big Papi nearing return

Published July 30, 2012

| Sports Network

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine hinted Monday that he is hopeful that slugger David Ortiz could return from a strained right Achilles injury by the end of the week, despite a setback over the weekend in his strength and conditioning program.

Ortiz told ESPN that he could not complete agility drills for his feet and instead had to take to running in a swimming pool for treatment and therapy on his right foot.

Ortiz, who leads the Red Sox in homers (23) and slugging (.609) and OPS (1.015), injured himself on July 16 while rounding second base on an eighth- inning, go-ahead homer by Adrian Gonzalez. He was placed on the disabled list the next day and is eligible to come off on Wednesday.

"I don't know if it was ever on goal," Valentine said of Ortiz coming off the DL after 15 days. "Whenever he's ready. He's running in the pool and we'll take it from there. He's not far away but I don't know that Wednesday is the magical day but it will be sometime soon. He's swinging OK. It doesn't seem like he's lost a lot of his rhythm or strength or timing. But he's only at about 80 percent because he's trying to keep away from making the situation any worse."

As for not performing the agility test, Valentine said the team was using precaution after Ortiz reported soreness.

"A little sore [Saturday]," Valentine said. "That's why he went to the pool today to do that running routine."

Infielder Mike Aviles continues to nurse turf-toe, with the team deciding not to place him on the disabled list.

"Mike's dealing with a turf toe," Valentine said. "It's not a life-threatening situation but it sure is an incumberance. We're just trying to see what we can do to get that feeling out of there.

"It's not fun to deal with. The less he strains it in the athletic motions of playing, the better it can calm down. If it calms down, we'll have a 100 percent Mike back. He could play the game, go in in an emergency, pinch-hit, do all those things. We wouldn't pinch-run him necessarily but he could if we had to."

The news did not seem as encouraging on Scott Atchison, the Red Sox right- handed reliever who allowed three runs in his rehab outing Friday night in Pawtucket. The next day he reported soreness in his right forearm. When he went on the disabled list on July 15, he was 2-1 with a 1.76 ERA in 37 games.

"He had an MRI today and we're waiting on the results," Valentine said. "It seemed like he went in with a forearm and it moved back, up closer to the elbow. It seemed like 15 days ago it was just going to be he needed just a couple of days rest. And then we gave him a lot of rest, and then when he threw, it didn't feel good the next day."

Reliever Andrew Bailey hopes to be in games by this weekend after surgery in March to repair the UCL ligament in his right arm.

"He's going to fly down today, get a good night's sleep and then play catch [Tuesday] and maybe get in a game Wednesday," Valentine said.

NOTES: Valentine on the urgency of the 10-game homestand for the Red Sox: "I don't think that way. I'd like to play as well as we can tonight. If we win all 10 what does that guarantee us? It means nothing. The only thing that means anything is what we do today. Then we'll figure out what we've got to do tomorrow."

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http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2012/07/30/big-papi-nearing-return/