Notes: Big Papi returns to lineup
All-Star's left shoulder improves following cortisone shot
BALTIMORE -- David Ortiz may be well enough to return to the lineup, but he knows his injury troubles are by no means in the past.Ortiz sat out the Red Sox's win vs. the Angels on Wednesday to nurse his sore left shoulder, and manager Terry Francona planned to give Ortiz another day off on Friday night vs. the Orioles. But Ortiz said he felt better after taking batting practice before the game and told Francona he was well enough to play. "Some guys can play themselves into getting hurt because of their will, but David is pretty awesome about how he feels," Francona said. "He was awesome the other day about not playing and he's that way when he does play. So that helps me a lot." Big Papi, who was given a cortisone shot to lessen the pain, received good news from Angels team physician Dr. Craig Milhouse on Wednesday, when an MRI showed no structural damage. The shot did its job, as Ortiz said the soreness had mostly subsided and he was eager to step back into the batter's box to resume his duties as the club's powerful designated hitter. But he admitted that it was not a long-term fix and the ailment will probably resurface. "I'm going to hang tight, because it's going to keep bothering me on and off," he said. "With shoulder injuries, if you don't have the time off, you don't get better." Ortiz suffered the injury when he slid awkwardly into second base against the White Sox on July 20, and he missed four games following the incident. He said he's had to cut his regular heavy weightlifting out of his preparation routine, and the pain is most pronounced when he swings and misses. The injury comes as the latest addition to somewhat of a disappointing year for Ortiz. With only seven weeks left in the season, he is 21 home runs and 42 RBIs short of his marks at this point last season. Francona said Ortiz's presence in the lineup is enormously important, but the manager certainly doesn't want to push Ortiz too far. "This might be something we have to manage from time to time," Francona said. "We'll keep an eye on this." After going hitless in his first three at-bats on Friday night, Ortiz laced a two-run single as part of Boston's five-run eighth inning.
Young talent: Right fielder Brandon Moss has appeared in only three games with the parent club this season, but his efforts against the Angels earlier this week made an impact on Francona."He's really developing the reputation as a good young hitter," Francona said. "He stands up there like a good hitter. His at-bats the whole week were solid." Moss went 1-for-7 in his two games and also showcased his talents on the defensive side of the ball. "In the first Spring [Training], he was pretty tentative, so we didn't get to see some of his tools out there in the outfield," Francona said. "But this spring and the other night, he had a good arm and he moves after the ball pretty well. He just needs to play and to play at this level. He's got a chance to be a pretty good player." Moss was sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday to make room for first baseman Eric Hinske, who returned to the lineup after spending time at home to celebrate the birth of his first daughter. Rolling the dice: With his fourth strikeout of the game in the second inning Friday, Daisuke Matsuzaka passing the Red Sox's single-season rookie record of 155, which Ken Brett set in 1970. Dice-K is also only the ninth Boston rookie since 1914 to record at least 14 wins in a season. Southern Red Sox Nation chapter: The Red Sox hold a 6-2 record against the Orioles this season and an 80-52 mark since 2000, and Francona said Baltimore is the most Red-Sox-fan inhabited city in the Majors when Boston comes to town. "It's like Boston in the south," Francona said of Charm City. "All the places I can walk to the ballpark I walk, but not here." Boston hasn't lost the season series on the road to Baltimore since 1998. Up next: Josh Beckett (14-5, 3.31 ERA) will try to notch his Major League-leading 15th win of the year when he faces Garrett Olson (1-0, 3.86 ERA), who has started just two games in the Majors, in the middle stanza of a three-game set Saturday at 3:55 p.m. ET in the FOX Game of the Week.
Geremy Bass is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.