Papi collects pair of hits in rehab game
Slugger eyes return to Boston after stop at Double-A Portland
PORTLAND, Maine -- The David Ortiz rehab show stopped here for what is slated to be a three-day run, and if his achy left wrist holds up as well as it did Monday night, Big Papi should be back in the Boston Red Sox's lineup in no time. Or at least by Friday, when the New York Yankees hit Fenway Park.
Ortiz went 2-for-3 with a walk and one RBI to help lift the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs to an 8-2 rout of the Connecticut Defenders before a packed and wildly appreciative Hadlock Field house crowd of 7,368.
Now four-games into a six-game swing -- including three with Triple-A Pawtucket -- Ortiz pronounced himself pain-free and nearly ready for big league duty.
"I think right now, I'm very close to being 100 percent," Ortiz said. "[I'm] very close; not too far away. I know myself really good, and I know when things are going bad and when things are going good. Being out for that long, I never thought I would be the way I am."
Hitting third in the Portland batting order, Ortiz saw six pitches in his first at-bat against Connecticut right-hander Joey Martinez.
After falling behind in the count, 1-2 -- including one foul back into the seats that set off a feeding frenzy -- Ortiz worked his way to a full count.
Martinez then tried to sneak a slider past Ortiz, but missed, and though Ortiz was tempted to swing, he checked his swing.
Ortiz later scored on a two-run single by Josh Reddick, who had just been promoted from Class A Lancaster.
Ortiz's second time up was briefer.
With Portland leading, 5-1, and Mickey Hall on second, Ortiz took two balls, then laced an opposite-field single into left field, which moved Hall to third.
Martinez finally retired Ortiz in his third at-bat, inducing Ortiz to pop out to first. It came with none on and one away, on a 77-mph curveball that might have been too tasty for Ortiz to resist.
"You know you're facing young kids," Ortiz said. "The kid I was facing tonight threw me some pitches that are Major League pitches. He tried to hit the spot inside and come back with his changeup. Me, as a big league hitter, I'm like, 'Wow, that's pretty impressive.'"
Ortiz finished his night in the bottom of the sixth with a bit of a flourish when he muscled a broken-bat single into right off reliever Nate Bump, who had relieved Martinez a batter earlier.
"I feel good." Ortiz said. "Hopefully, everything will keep going like that."
Ortiz is scheduled to man the designated-hitter spot again Tuesday and Wednesday before getting final clearance from the Red Sox medical staff to return to big league action.
Dan Hickling is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.