- After going through a series of running tests for over 10 minutes and taking live batting practice on Thursday afternoon at Fenway Park, David Ortiz is on schedule to make his return on Friday against the Royals, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine announced Thursday afternoon.

Ortiz has been on the disabled list since July 17 with an injured right Achilles, suffered while running the bases on an Adrian Gonzalez homer the night before.

"It looked like David got through everything perfectly," Valentine said. "He was running the bases. [Thursday] was the day he was going to run the bases, which he hadn't done yet. He had run sprints and done other things. He ran the bases. We're going to see how he gets through it. If he gets through, we're planning on hopefully activating him [Friday]."

In 89 games this season with the Red Sox, Ortiz is batting .316 with 23 homers and 58 RBIs, slugging at a team-best .609 rate and an OPS of 1.023. The Red Sox have missed his huge bat and production, going just 13-21 in his absence.


Valentine came out swinging Thursday at critics who say the Red Sox embarrassed themselves by having only four player representatives at the funeral for legend Johnny Pesky on Monday morning. Midway through his pregame press briefing with reporters, Valentine was asked what he thought of only four players attending the funeral services.

"I think it's very insulting to the family, the Pesky family, for people to be thinking an organization that loved him so much did anything other than the right thing. That's my answer to that," Valentine said.

It was reported in the Herald that only four players attended the funeral despite ownership and management providing transportation to and from the funeral. The paper reported that only David Ortiz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Vicente Padilla and Clay Buchholz were spotted at the service.

Other notes: Felix Doubront will come off the disabled list on Sunday and start against the Royals after missing two weeks with a bruised right knee. He was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 18, retroactive to Aug. 10. He has missed four starts ... Daisuke Matsuzaka will start again on Monday but likely not for Boston. Valentine would only say he "probably" will pitch again for Triple-A Pawtucket. Matsuzaka has been on the disabled list since July 3 with a strained neck. He allowed just one hit over seven scoreless innings on Tuesday night before leaving with tightness in his calf.