David Ortiz to return when eligible

Updated: July 28, 2012, 1:40 AM ET
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com

NEW YORK -- Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is no longer wearing a protective boot, was planning to take batting practice Friday, and should come off the disabled list when he is eligible Wednesday at home against the Detroit Tigers, according to manager Bobby Valentine.

"I'm not going to rush," Ortiz said after Boston's 10-3 loss to the Yankees. "When I'm ready, I'm ready."

Ortiz went on the DL on July 17 with what the team is calling a strained right Achilles tendon. At the time he was hurt, he was on a season-best, 11-game hitting streak (.429, 15-for-35), with almost as many walks (13) as hits.

Since June 25, a span of 18 games, Ortiz's on-base percentage of .519 was the highest in the American League (minimum 40 plate appearances), and his slugging percentage of .700 was fifth-highest in the league.

The Red Sox are 3-7 since Ortiz suffered his injury while running the bases ahead of Adrian Gonzalez's three-run home run July 16 against the Chicago White Sox. Boston has scored a total of 38 runs in that span, less than four runs a game.

Valentine has used four players as DH in Ortiz's absence, and they have combined to bat a collective .194 (7-for-36) with two extra-base hits, a triple and a double: Pedro Ciriaco (four starts, 3-for-14, triple), Cody Ross (three starts, 2-for-11, double), Mauro Gomez (one start, 1-for-4), and Daniel Nava (two starts, 1-for-7). Nava, who served as the Red Sox's DH in the first game missed by Ortiz, was back in the DH spot Friday night, batting eighth, and finished 1-for-4 with a single.

"David is on pace to be back when his (DL) stint is over," Valentine said before the game.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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