Sox hope Ortiz returns in three weeks
Slugger placed on DL with partially torn tendon in left wrist
BOSTON -- As he sported an imposing black cast, stretching from his left elbow to his ailing left wrist, David Ortiz stood in front of his locker at Fenway Park and said he remains hopeful to return to playing after a period of rest and a stint on the 15-day disabled list.
Ortiz will spend the next two to three weeks in the protective covering with the hope that the rest will allow scar tissue to repair the partially torn sheath that covers the ECU tendon in his left wrist.
The most promising prognosis came from his manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein. Both indicated Tuesday that doctors have informed them that surgery for this type of injury is unlikely at this point.
"The integrity of the tendon hasn't been comprised at all, so that's why the doctors are pretty confident that if it's immobilized in this hard cast for a period of time, that there's a pretty significant chance that it'll heal itself in that time period," Epstein said.
The ultimate hope is that surgery won't be required and Ortiz will return to the Red Sox's lineup later this month or next.
"I don't think the doctors think that's going to happen," Francona said, when asked of the possibility of surgery. "The idea is that it heals over with scar tissue and he's not a risk [for reinjuring the wrist]."
Right now, Ortiz is just trying to deal with the pain, which began when he took a swing at a pitch in the ninth inning of Saturday night's game in Baltimore.
"The problem right now is the pain, every time I move my hand around," he said.
"We'll know it has [healed], because David will be pain free and it's not tender when he gets out of the cast, then it will have resolved itself and he can start a progression. It's essentially two to three weeks," Epstein said.
While there is a lot of similarity between Curt Schilling's torn sheath on his right ankle in 2004 and Ortiz's injury, Ortiz and fans might recall another similar injury to a Red Sox star's wrist. Nomar Garciaparra injured his right wrist in 2001 and missed a large portion of that season.
"The closest was Nomar, but he tore it, so it was pretty bad," Ortiz said. "Mine, everything was still pretty normal and the tendon is still in place. They told me that it's a good thing that [I] didn't tear it like Nomar did."
Ortiz was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, retroactive to Sunday. Taking his roster spot was rookie first baseman Chris Carter, who was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.
"I put this cast on and I've got to keep it one position," Ortiz said. "It was not comfortable [Monday] night. I've got to wear it for a few weeks just to see if the ligament goes back to its normal position. If it doesn't, I guess I'm going to have to have surgery."
While hitting just .252 in 54 games, Ortiz was starting to show signs of starting to produce the types of numbers Red Sox fans have come accustomed to seeing from one of the game's premier sluggers.
At the time of the injury, he leads the team in homers (13) and RBIs (43).
"The doctor says 70 to 80 percent of the people that have this, when they get a cast, it normally goes back," Ortiz said. "I have clicking when I move my hand. If the pain goes away, that's the main key. If the pain goes away and I still have the clicking, then I can probably play through it and maybe fix it after the season. Otherwise, if I still have the pain, I'm going to be out.
"If I have surgery, it's probably going to be the whole season," he added.
During his exam and MRI on Monday, Ortiz got a medical lesson on his hand.
"Everybody has a little bracelet that holds on to all the tendons," Ortiz said. "So when you stretch it, the tendons normally come out of position, and that's what happened to me. This will give the tendon the chance to go back to where it's supposed to be.
"It's a little frustrating, because it's not like you injured your hand it doing something I don't normally do. I did it swinging, and I swing every day, so it's a little crazy."
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.