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Sports

Rehabbing slugger David Ortiz is feeling ‘better’

Slugger hoping to return Friday

PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Physically, David Ortiz is fine.

The left Achilles’ tendon he injured last season is healing nicely.

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And the soreness in his left heel that he felt before Monday night’s game proved to be nothing more than a minor scare.

“I feel better today,” Ortiz said Tuesday after the Leigh Valley IronPigs beat the Pawtucket Red Sox, 8-6, in his third rehab game. “I ran down the line a couple of times and it was fine. [Boston’s Sports Medicine Coordinator] Dan [Dryek] told me about where [the sore heel] came from and said not to worry about it.”

But whether Ortiz should worry about his timing is another matter.

Ortiz was 0 for 4 against Lehigh Valley and didn’t even hit what could be termed a loud out.

“It’s going to happen because I haven’t played in the last eight months,” Ortiz said. “I’m going to make adjustments the more I see pitches. You work into a funk even when you’re good to go.

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“As a Major League Baseball player you make adjustments and you get to the point where you want to be playing. That’s pretty obvious. It’s not like I have plenty of time to sit down and think about it. How many at-bats did I have in spring training . . . 70? I had plenty of time to do that [in spring training].

“Now, I don’t have time to do that,” Ortiz continued. “This is when the experience and what I’ve learned through the years kick in and I have to put it in play.”

What will be interesting is how Ortiz feels and hits Wednesday night because it will be the first time during his rehab assignment that he’s played consecutive games.

“I feel fine today so, hopefully, tomorrow’s going to be another good day,” he said.

The fact Ortiz has failed to see enough live pitching was underscored in his four at-bats — the first two against righthander Jonathon Pettibone, a Triple-A rookie who was the Phillies’ third-round pick in the 2008 draft.

In the first inning, Ortiz waved at a 2-and-0 pitch, then struck out swinging on a 3-2 changeup.

He flew to left field on a 1-2 fastball in the third.

Another righty, Justin Friend, relieved Pettibone in the fifth. Ortiz led off and tapped weakly to first base on a 0-1 breaking pitch.

With Jose Iglesias on first and one out in the sixth, Friend induced Ortiz to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play on the first pitch.

Ortiz is holding out hope he’ll be able to join the Red Sox on Friday. “Hopefully,” Ortiz said. “We’ll see how it goes the next couple of games we have left here.”

“We’re hopeful that by the end of this week he’s still able to rejoin us,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said in Cleveland.

Ortiz has financial incentive to be activated on Friday. Under the terms of his contract, his salary for 2014 all go from $11 million to $15 million if he does not spend 20 days on the disabled list because of the Achilles’ injury. Friday would be 19 days.

Pete Abraham of the Globe staff contributed to this report from Cleveland.

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