David Ortiz’s season could be over, with the Boston Red Sox slugger opting to shut things down rather risk a further Achilles injury for his fading team.
The man affectionately known as “Big Papi” is less than a week removed from receiving an injection in his right heel, but, with Boston struggling down the stretch, it’s unclear if he’ll try to return to the lineup anytime soon.
“God, I don’t know,” manager Bobby Valentine said prior to Saturday night’s 7-1 loss at Oakland Coliseum. “I haven’t heard anything on that. I think he’s going to try. That’s just the last I heard.”
The Boston Herald cited a team source in Sunday’s report that said Ortiz is “feeling better” after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection on Monday.
The Red Sox have been hopeful that he will return later this month, perhaps as early as this Friday when the team returns home from a West Coast road swing. Ortiz has been dealing with a strained right Achilles since July 16, missing 35 games before returning last Friday night and aggravating the injury while legging out a double against the Kansas City Royals.
A free agent at season’s end, Ortiz has said the Red Sox’ athletic training staff has cautioned him against pushing his Achilles to the point where he suffers a tear that will require surgery. Moreover, he doubts the injury will fully heal until the offseason when he’s able to give it proper rest.
Complicating his return is the fact the Red Sox lost 21 of their last 30 games to essentially fall out of contention in the wild card race, meaning that it makes little sense for Ortiz to play until he’s ready.
Ortiz has been the Red Sox’ most dominant hitter, batting .318 and slugging .611 with a .415 on-base percentage. He’s tied with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the team-lead with 23 home runs despite having just 324 plate appearances.