FORT MYERS, Fla. — David Ortiz said Monday that he wasn’t surprised to learn that there was inflammation in his heels, particularly the left, given how he has felt in recent weeks.
The Red Sox slugger has been shut down for at least a week and is now likely to start the season on the disabled list. He has yet to play in a spring training game.
“I knew there was something that was not normal,” Ortiz said. “I was getting pain four or five hours after I was finished with my workout. I knew something wasn’t right.”
Ortiz said he spoke to the Red Sox medical staff about his concerns and they agreed that an MRI should be taken. That happened on Saturday. Ortiz was relieved the diagnosis he received on Sunday wasn’t worse.
“It’s not anything crazy, thank God,” Ortiz said. “But it’s going to take a couple of weeks to get fixed.”
Ortiz has started a course of anti-inflammatory medication and is getting daily treatment.
“We started doing a whole bunch of different things,” he said. “I’m just not going to be doing baseball activities I guess for about a week.
“It’s not a good feeling. I’ve been working really hard this offseason just to make sure, you know, I’m good to go for the season. ... The one thing that we really are working on is when I’m back, I’m back. It’s not just coming back for a couple of weeks and go back to the same thing.”
Ortiz was originally hurt in July when he suffered a small tear in his right Achilles. Is he surprised this remains an issue nearly eight months later?
“We’re humans. We’re humans. Nobody wants to be injured,” he said. “Me, I was going 120 percent this offseason working with this injury. The good news is that it had nothing that had to do with my Achilles, like it used to be. That made me happy at least, knowing that my Achilles is doing fine.
“It’s a process that when you are going at it, you pretty much use everything. It’s not like you can get picky with the things you want to do. Not being formally doing things for like six months, it’s like starting all over. It happens.”
What will the Red Sox do to replace Ortiz? Manager John Farrell acknowledged there have been some internal things kicked around. Among the considerations would be whether to play Mike Napoli everyday at first base or whether he should perhaps be in the DH mix.
“It’s safe to say we don’t have another David Ortiz to occupy that slot. Where the best matchups are and how do we balance Mike Napoli playing everyday. Everything projects where he would be fine but we all have to consider that,” Farrell said.
That would seem to bode well for Mike Carp or Lyle Overbay making the team as a first baseman.
Ortiz, until the recent news, had hoped to start the season in the lineup.
“Opening Day was my goal,” he said. “You heard me talking about it when I first got here. I was swinging good and I was pushing things the way being told. Right now, Opening Day seems like it’s not the case. The case is get me healthy for five or five and a half good months. You know what I’m saying? That’s what we’re looking for now.”
How has Ortiz felt swinging a bat?
“Once I started hitting, I know the things that I need to approach to be right at the plate. I haven’t played in a while, so that’s why you approach different things and you try to work on things more consistently,” he said. “Definitely, when somebody hasn’t played for as long as I’ve been out, you definitely want to play [in exhibition games] before you go back into action. You definitely need to be comfortable.”
Ortiz is he expects that once he comes back, he’ll be able to play on an everyday basis.
“I want to be able to focus on what I do on the baseball field,” he said.
Ortiz said the recent soreness is related to the Achilles injury and all the time off he had.
“Yeah, I was compensating,” he said. “I was compensating, that’s one thing. The other thing is the time without running and doing all that activity. But I was compensating [for the Achilles]. That’s why I was getting a little bit of inflammation on the other side.”
How much of the regular season does Ortiz expect to miss?
“I don’t know. Hopefully not that much,” he said.
Ortiz believes the Red Sox can persevere without him.
“We have a good team now,” he said. “We have. We have good players. I’ve been talking to a lot of them and the one thing that I keep on telling them is just try to do what you do at your best. Don’t try to do more than that. You’re going to bump into some tough times, Just learn how to deal with it and everything’s going to be taken care of.”Nick Cafardo contributed from Jupiter, Fla.