CLEVELAND -- Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who hit a home run for Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday afternoon, is headed for Boston and is expected to be activated for Friday night's game against the Kansas City Royals.
"He feels good about where he's at," Red Sox manager John Farrell said Thursday, "and all things point to his return tomorrow when we get home from this trip."
Ortiz was on the disabled list when the Red Sox opened the season in New York and flew to the team's training facility after that series to continue his rehab. He joined Pawtucket on a rehab assignment that began last Thursday.
He played in five games while in Pawtucket, and had 18 at-bats, just short of the 20 to 30 that Farrell had estimated Ortiz would need before joining the club. Ortiz had four hits for a .222 batting average. Thursday's home run was his only extra-base hit. He struck out in his other two at-bats.
"Having his presence in the middle of the order certainly speaks for itself, for the number of years and success he's had," Farrell said, "but I think he gives us the potential to lengthen our lineup even more, and we're certainly looking forward to seeing him in the clubhouse tomorrow."
Ortiz will have missed the team's first 15 games while he was on the DL. The Red Sox were 10-4 entering Thursday night's game against the Indians, with Farrell rotating the DH spot among Jonny Gomes (7 starts), Daniel Nava (5), and Mike Napoli (2).
"It's been great," Farrell said of how the team has played without Ortiz. "I can't say enough about the way we've played defense, the way we've pitched. We've scored runs in bunches at times, and yet we've scored some timely runs to lop a couple games off as we get guys back to us.
"We have weathered some of that uncertainty. It will be good to get everybody back and be at full strength."
Ortiz said it works in his favor that the team has played so well without him.
"That's less pressure for me," he told the Providence Journal. "Now I know I can take my time to do my thing and work into that good funk, not trying to do too much or trying to carry the team on my back. The team is playing well. Hopefully it continues. That would make it easier on me."
Farrell indicated it would be unrealistic to expect Ortiz, whose condition has been diagnosed as Achilles tendinopathy, to be able to play every day upon his return.
"We'll certainly work off David on this," Farrell said. "To say we have 'X' days and 'X' games, we'll use him as our guide. We're going to have balance getting him back into full shape as well as monitor how much stress that heel can take."