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Thursday, March 14, 2013
Of Welker, Big Papi and Pedroia

By Gordon Edes

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Good morning from the Fort, which I think we can all agree would have ceased to be David Ortiz’s spring address long ago if Bill Belichick ran the Red Sox. Shoot, the Sox have quietly signaled their desire to extend Dustin Pedroia, whose contract ends in 2015, a club option year. Pedroia will be 31 going on 32 that season, the same age as Wes Welker. Do you think he’d be getting an extension if he played for BB?

For better or worse, the Sox operate on a different business model. With Ortiz unable to run on balky heels, and just starting a two-year, $26 million deal, that model is looking a bit shaky right now, and the potential for disaster is written all over it. What started as a problem in one foot now has become inflammation in both heels, and short of complete rest, you wonder how that’s not going to become a chronic issue for a big man who is 37 years old.

The Sox insist that’s not the case, and the problem was the result of ramping up activity after a winter in which Ortiz had done no running. Not starting the season on time could hit Ortiz directly in the wallet; the $4 million in incentives stipulated in Ortriz’s contract for 2014 are based on avoiding the DL with an Achilles-related injury. He collects the full $4 million only if he spends 20 days or fewer on the DL because of the Achilles.

Ortiz has said he does not want to play until he is fully recovered, but given the financial parameters, even when he does return, will anyone know for certain he’s OK, or trying to maximize the return on his deal?

The Sox play the Twins in Hammond Stadium this afternoon at 1. Ryan Demspter is scheduled to make the start. We’ll have lineups later.

* Left-hander Franklin Morales was on the same flight as I was returning from Boston to Fort Myers Wednesday afternoon. Morales said he had his back checked out, and everything was OK. We’ll update later.

* How hard is it to make the Sox as a non-roster player, a matter of some urgency to guys like Lyle Overbay, Drew Sutton, Mitch Maier and Ryan Sweeney? Well, the crack Sox PR staff reports that in the last 10 years, a dozen non-roster players have made the Opening Day roster. Here’s the list:

2003 -- RHP Steve Woodard

2004 -- INF-OF Cesar Crespo, 1B Brian Daubach, 1B/OF David McCarty

2005 -- 1B/OF David McCarty

2008 -- C Kevin Cash

2009 -- SS Nick Green

2010 -- LHP Scott Schoeneweis

2011 -- LHP Dennys Reyes

2012 -- RHP Scott Atchison, RHP Vicente Padilla, LHPO Justin Thomas

* And my Boston Globe colleague Peter Abraham just mentioned to me in the press box that pitcher Casey Kelly, who with first baseman Anthony Rizzo were the key prospects sent by the Sox to the San Diego Padres in the original Adrian Gonzalez deal, may need Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.

“The doctors are concerned about what the tests look like," Padres manager Bud Black told reporters. "That's the best I can say."

Kelly, 23, made his big league debut on Aug. 27 and made six starts for the Padres, going 2-3 with a 6.21 ERA.

Rizzo, of course, was since traded to the Chicago Cubs, and starred for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic. The Padres received power pitcher Andrew Cashner, who has been clocked as high as 103 miles an hour, in return for Rizzo.