Ortiz: Doc said heel soreness to be expected

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox manager John Farrell acknowledged Sunday that designated hitter David Ortiz has “indirectly” expressed concerns about whether he will be able to start the regular season on time because of lingering issues with the right Achilles tendon he strained last July.

Ortiz said Sunday when he ran the bases the day before, for only the second time this spring, he felt some stiffness in the tendon.

“I got a little worried yesterday,’’ Ortiz said, “and the doctor told me that’s the way it’s going to be at the beginning, because that muscle, that foot, I haven’t been doing strong activity like that. I didn’t run the whole offseason, so they said, ‘You’re just breaking things down [calcification]. That’s why it’s sore, but it will go away.’’

Ortiz said the foot felt “fine” this morning, but while he hoped to play in a game by the end of this week, it would be his call.

“I’m looking forward to [playing],’’ he said, “but it’s not what they say, it’s what it is. I don’t want to go out there without being ready and having a setback.’’

There are four weeks left until the start of the regular season April 1, and Farrell said the club is focused more on how Ortiz fares in three-day segments than on that date. “We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves,’’ Farrell said.

Asked if he was wondering if he’ll be ready for the opener, Ortiz said, “Not really. It’s an injury that takes time. I’m just riding with it. I have done everything the way they told me to do it. We’ll see how that goes.’’

Ortiz insists the small tear discovered in the tendon last July has since healed -- he said the latest MRI showed what looked like a “brand-new” Achilles. And he expressed great confidence in physical therapist Dan Dyrek, who is in his first year as the team’s coordinator, sports medicine service.

“We have a guy here, Dan, the bald-headed guy, he’s a genius,’’ Ortiz said.

Originally, Ortiz was scheduled to run the bases Sunday, but after the game, Farrell said the medical staff decided he was “better served to back off.’’ Ortiz will run Monday, Farrell said, and the hope remains that Ortiz will play in a game by the end of the week.

“These next three days are going to tell a lot about where David’s at,’’ Farrell said Sunday morning. “His ability to remain loose inside of a given day. That’s probably the one question he has yet to answer to himself, is that when he gets hot, loosens up, the time between that point in the time of day and his first at-bat and every at-bat after that. That’ll happen in due time, but right now that’s the one thing that can’t be fully answered, just remaining loose without continuing to run or doing agility work.’’

Ortiz took ground balls at first base and got his swings in during batting practice, just as he has been doing, even before taking a couple of days to return to the Dominican Republic on personal business last week.