Ortiz's return a few weeks away
Slugger swings off a tee on Tuesday without setbacks
BOSTON -- Though designated hitter David Ortiz hoped that his recovery from a partially torn sheath tendon in his left wrist would be full speed ahead, reality set in when he was given clearance on Tuesday night to pick up a bat.
Ortiz took roughly 25 "dry" swings off a tee with the team's medical staff looking on. There were no setbacks, and Ortiz is right where the doctors thought he would be.
It's just that the left-handed slugger wishes he could immediately progress to taking swings in anger against opposing pitchers.
That occurrence still appears to be weeks away instead of days.
"Yeah, I think I'm another few weeks, [maybe] three weeks, before I start swinging," Ortiz said on Wednesday.
That would put him on track to start a Minor League rehab stint right around the All-Star break, though no timetable has been set up just yet.
"It's just weak," said Ortiz, who sustained the injury on May 31. "I took some swings off the tee slow. I knew it was going to feel like that. That's what the doctor wanted me to do, take swings slowly until I get to the form where I can be ready to play."
The competitor in Ortiz is clearly disappointed that he can't do more than take light swings off a tee at this stage. However, the Red Sox, being the realists in this matter, are pleased with his progress.
"There's got to be a place to start," said manager Terry Francona. "And before we got on the road, guys [from the medical staff] kind of wanted to see him do it. It will be a little slow at first, which it's supposed to be. Everything is kind of going according to plan."
Ortiz is staying rational about the situation.
"The recovery is pretty much on pace with what they thought I was going to be," he said. "It's all right. I am disappointed. I want to be playing. But there's not too much I can do about it but wait. Of course I want to be out there swinging like I normally do. But it's a healing process."
Did he feel any pain in his wrist when he swung off the tee?
"A little bit. But when I got injured, I couldn't even hold onto my bat," he said. "Now I can at least swing slow without much problem, so I'm definitely feeling better."
In the meantime, all the Red Sox can do is continue to monitor Ortiz's progress.
"We'll progressively build up in reps and intensity, leading to soft toss, BP, eventually into some games," said Francona.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.