FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The David Ortiz Watch lurches on, with little measurable progress -- sometimes even minor setbacks -- and no indication of whether he will even be capable of being in the lineup on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium.
Ortiz took batting practice but did not run the bases Friday, and manager John Farrell said he’s hopeful that Ortiz can run Saturday. At this point, every day is dictated by the day before. Farrell doesn’t appear to be bothered by the mercurial nature of the situation, but he says Ortiz is.
“He’s critically important to our lineup,” Farrell said. “He’s aware of that. I think that’s what kind of adds to his frustration -- not being able to get on the field and participate in spring training and get ready for the regular season.
“But because we haven’t come to that date where, ‘OK, Plan B is now a legitimate one’ ... I know those discussions will take place. But we’re still hopeful in taking the approach that he will be ready. But we’ve got to be aware that that may need adjusting.”
Asked if Saturday would be one of Ortiz’s “high-intensity days,” Farrell said: “Hopefully it would be high intensity, but because it’s so day-to-day, it’s hard to say what we’re planning. We can have a plan, but we have to adjust off it.”
Farrell said the team has not established a date by which Ortiz must appear in a spring training game in order to be ready for Opening Day.
“We felt like, even now, with the minor-league games starting up, he’ll be able to get the appropriate number of at-bats that he’ll feel comfortable, provided there’s progress being made,” Farrell said.
Farrell said the volatile, flighty nature of Ortiz’s recovery from his Achilles’ tendon injury is all normal, and there isn’t any thought that he has re-injured the Achilles or will injure it more severely. He also seemed to rebuff the suggestion that Ortiz might be reluctant to push the recovery too hard for fear that he might suffer a setback.
“It’s so case by case,” he said. “He’s frustrated by the start-and-stop type approach to this, rather than being a steady incline to being back to full game speed. Everybody’s going to respond differently to a particular injury.”
Ortiz first injured the Achilles last July and missed all but one of the team’s remaining games.