JUPITER, Fla. -- A day after Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell revealed that David Ortiz would be shut down for 5-7 days after an MRI revealed inflammation in his heels, the designated hitter acknowledged he would likely not be ready for Opening Day.
“Opening Day was my goal,” Ortiz told reporters Monday morning across the state in Fort Myers. “Right now, Opening Day seems like it’s not the case.”
During his time of rest, Ortiz will do no physical activity and will take anti-inflammatory medicine.
The 37-year-old Ortiz first strained his right Achilles this past July and missed all but one of the remaining games of the 2012 season. He spent the offseason resting it in the hopes of being ready for the 2013 season, but after stepping up his workouts to include running drills at camp, he wasn’t making the progress he had hoped and felt soreness in both heels.
Both Farrell and Ortiz stressed the silver lining in this setback: The soreness was in his heel and not the right Achilles’.
“I knew it wasn’t the Achilles’,” Ortiz said. “We had an MRI in December and my Achilles' was pretty good. And we had an MRI right now and my Achilles' is not the issue. It’s just inflammation right behind it and we’re working on that now.”
In Jupiter, where the Red Sox were getting ready to play the Marlins in a Grapefruit League contest, Farrell clarified his comments from Sunday, saying the pain Ortiz was feeling was primarily in his right heel.
Despite the apparent slowness of his recovery, Farrell said there’s “real, tangible progress being made” and pain is “somewhat expected” as he returns to running.
“I knew something was not normal,” Ortiz told reporters of the heel discomfort he was feeling. “I was getting pain 4-5 hours after I was finished with my workout. I knew something wasn’t right so I had that communication between me and the doctors and trainers. We had an MRI just to see what’s going on. It’s not anything crazy, thank God, but it’s going to take a couple of weeks to get fixed.”
A frustrated Ortiz described this setback as “not a good feeling.”
“I’ve been working really hard this offseason just to make sure I am good to go for the season,” Ortiz told reporters. “And this happened. It’s not me being me, you know?”
Both Ortiz and the Red Sox are being cautious with the injury in the hopes of assuring that once the designated hitter returns to action, he does so for the long haul.
“The one thing that we really are working on is when I’m back, I’m back,” Ortiz said. “It’s not just coming back for a couple of weeks and go back to the same thing, you know? They’re trying to fix the whole thing, that way when I get back in the lineup it’s going to be for the season.”
Farrell said it’s too early to tell what the designated hitter spot will look like should Ortiz not be ready for Opening Day. Two possible options -- first baseman Mike Napoli and left fielder Mike Carp – were in the lineup Monday. Farrell called the situation “ongoing.”
“Not to give you a short answer and try to avoid it,” he added. “It’s safe to say we don’t have another David Ortiz waiting to occupy that slot.”
Information from ESPNBoston.com correspondent Matt Porter was used in this report.