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06/15/08 2:41 PM ET

Ortiz may have cast removed this week

Big Papi making progress, feels no pain in injured left wrist

CINCINNATI -- David Ortiz is making progress as he heals the torn tendon sheath in his left wrist, and the hard cast, running from elbow to hand, could come off his left arm as soon as this week.

"The pain is actually gone, which is good news," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

The announcement confirmed what doctors initially suspected: As long as the pain subsides and there are no further complications, Ortiz will be able to return this season and avoid surgery.

"Some of it may be how tender he is and how tender he isn't may have something to do with when it comes off," said Francona. "In talking with [general manager] Theo [Epstein] before we left, maybe keep [the cast] on a few days longer just because of how much we depend on this guy."

"I don't know the day, to be honest," Francona added later. "It's not like anybody's really hiding anything or there's any hidden medical issues. Just go off the pain, because when the pain goes away, he's going to be OK. We're not going to give him the bat and tell him to take 200 swings the first day. He needs to do range of motion [exercises] and things like that and build into it."

Ortiz felt pain in the wrist while taking a swing in the ninth inning in Baltimore on May 31. He went on the disabled list on June 3, leading the team in homers (13) and RBIs (43) at the time.

"[The] doctors say he should be OK," Francona reiterated. "I think we're all on the same [page]. You look at a big guy who needs to swing the bat and generate power and go, 'Uh oh,' but [the] doctors say this shouldn't be an issue."

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.