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Source: David Ortiz 'likely' to hearing

It appears "likely" that the Boston Red Sox and David Ortiz are headed to a hearing to decide his arbitration case, a major league source with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Wednesday night that hearings for Ortiz and pitcher Alfredo Aceves are not scheduled for this week, so there is still time to negotiate. Aceves is the only other Red Sox player who filed for arbitration who is still without a deal.

If the sides do go to a hearing, it will be the team's first since Tim Wakefield in 2002.

Hearings began Tuesday and continue through Feb. 17 in St. Petersburg, Fla. At the hearing, an independent arbitration panel would decide on Ortiz's 2012 salary, choosing between numbers submitted by the team and the player.

There is a $3.85 million difference between the two. The club has offered $12.65 million, just a slight bump over his $12.5 million base salary in 2011; the designated hitter has asked for $16.5 million.

Typically, agreements are reached close to the midpoints between the figures, but Ortiz could elect to gamble that the arbitration process would award him the higher salary.

Aceves has asked for $1.6 million; the Sox offered $900,000.

Cherington was oddly circumspect Monday when asked about arbitration hearings, saying he preferred not to reveal when they are scheduled.

"We've had continued dialogue with both players," Cherington said Monday at Fenway Park, where he was attending a charity event. "I couldn't handicap it right now. We're just going to prepare for the case. We will continue to talk right up until the hearing. We'll see what happens up until then."

Cherington was asked if the outcome of the hearings could affect future moves by the Red Sox, especially if the team won in its hearings, which would give it about $4.6 million more than if it lost.

"Depending on the outcome, it changes your payroll to some degree," he said. "To that extent, it changes things to some degree, but I wouldn't say it's significant."

Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.