It’s now been more than eight months since David Ortiz injured his Achilles, and the slugger continues to have setbacks regarding his recovery. At this point, it’s a virtual certainty that Ortiz will miss opening day when his Boston Red Sox face the New York Yankees on the first of April.
Ortiz has been the team’s number one source of power since joining the Red Sox back in 2003. In his 10 seasons in Boston, the full-time DH has amassed 343 home runs and 1,088 RBI. The Red Sox can ill afford to lose his bat for any significant amount of time.
The 37-year-old Dominican native had been scheduled to test his heels on Monday with a batting practice session after being given seven days off due to inflammation. The morning workout, however, was cancelled after manager John Farrell deemed Ortiz not sufficiently recovered. Farrell told the media on Monday morning that Ortiz was “not ready for the next step”, and that he is still unable to run without discomfort.
With this recent development, the Red Sox have to make plans for Ortiz’ absence being a long-term issue. They don’t have enough power on the bench to get away with using different role players to fill in at DH for an extended period of time. If they hope to compete coming out of the gate, they’ll need to tap into the farm system for power. Possible options could be J.C. Linares and Bryce Brentz, the latter of which is just returning from injury and homered in his first preseason game over the weekend.
(JM Catellier is the author of the book Fixing Baseball, a guide to restructuring the Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter: @FixingBaseball and Facebook, and check out his site: www.fixingbaseball.com)