CAP CANA, Dominican Republic — David Ortiz strained his right Achilles’ tendon July 16 in a base running mishap. Nearly five months later, he has not fully healed.
“At this point, not yet,” Ortiz said on Friday when asked if he was working out like he normally would. “Very soon.”
Spring training starts Feb. 12 for pitchers and catchers, and a few days later for position players. Will Ortiz be ready?
“I hope so. Hopefully,” he said.
Ortiz usually starts hitting in January and expects that will be the case. He is almost certain not to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, which starts March 2.
Former manager Bobby Valentine seemed to criticize Ortiz in October when he said during a television interview that the designated hitter “decided not to play” with his injury.
Ortiz said he was hurt by that comment, particularly because he was one of the few players who publically supported Valentine throughout his one drama-filled season.
“Hopefully, we go back to a normal year and we don’t have that much controversy and stuff going on. You can’t play baseball like that,” Ortiz said. “It’s too much.
“Every year you learn in baseball that you deal with different people. Different things happen every year. It can’t be part of the good side always . . . The good thing is that we are trying to fix things and they tried to correct that by getting John [Farrell] as a new manager to make things better.”
The fifth annual David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Tournament is Saturday. Ortiz will take only a few shots. But it has nothing to do with his foot.
“I’m not very good at golf,” he said, laughing. “That’s why.”
Mark Melancon, who is attending the event, had some harsh words for Valentine.
“It was so obvious, nobody wanted to talk to him because nobody could trust him,” the righthanded reliever said. “That’s never good.”
Melancon did not pitch well, posting a 6.20 earned run average in 41 outings. He was demoted to the minors in April and did not return until June. He was then used in largely mop-up situations.
“I don’t blame Bobby on the season at all. Our performance on the field is not because of the manager,” said Melancon. “I think there are things that can help you, a confidence booster or a trust factor. Knowing somebody has your back and will stand behind you and is pulling for you is big. But that wasn’t always the case. I think a lot of guys felt there was some fakeness. There was a lack of trust in general.”
Damon wanted return
Johnny Damon was asked to return to Fenway Park late in the season for a celebration honoring the 2004 championship team. He said he was willing to attend if the Red Sox put him on the roster.
“They really wanted me up there for the eight-year anniversary,” Damon said. “I was like, ‘Eight years sounds weird. If I can play, suit me up. I’m still in shape. I’ll be there.’ But they couldn’t adjust the roster and I didn’t go up. It would have been classic.”
Damon, 39, was released by the Indians in August after hitting .222.
He said he would “enjoy life” and retire if a team does not sign him before spring training.
The Red Sox acquired righthander Graham Godfrey from Oakland to complete the Nov. 28 trade of righthander Sandy Rosario. Godfrey has been assigned to Triple A Pawtucket.
Godfrey, 28, spent most of last season with Triple A Sacramento and was named to the Pacific Coast League’s midseason all-star team.
“I’m excited for change and a new opportunity with the Red Sox,” Godfrey wrote on Twitter.
Godfrey started the season with Oakland. He made five appearances (four starts) for the A’s, going 0-4 with a 6.43 ERA. He is 1-6 with a 5.09 ERA in 10 major league appearances.
Welcome to town
New first baseman Mike Napoli is expected to be introduced in Boston next week after he completes his physical . . . The Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America announced that Terry Francona is the 2013 recipient of the Judge Emil Fuchs Award for long and meritorious service to baseball. Francona will receive the award at the chapter’s 74th annual dinner Jan. 24 at the Westin Copley Hotel in Boston. For tickets, go to sportsmuseum.org . . . Pedro Martinez played in Philadelphia in 2009 with new Sox outfielder Shane Victorino. “Fun guy. Leaves it all on the field,” Martinez said. “I was extremely happy that they got a guy like that. That guy can bring it; he can make a play. You’ve got to be careful with him, though. He’ll run into a wall and you’ll miss him for four days. He needs to pace himself because he’s maturing a little bit.”Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.