09/09/08 11:47 PM ET
Papi's day off not related to wrist issues
Slugger getting first breather from starting lineup since July 25
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
As it turns out, it was merely a day off for Ortiz, though the slugger came into Tuesday's contest as a pinch-hitter and went 0-for-2 in Boston's 5-4 loss to the Rays.
Will he be back in the lineup on Wednesday?
"I guess -- I never get two [consecutive] days off," quipped Ortiz.
Because nasty lefty Scott Kazmir was starting for the Rays and Ortiz has been out of the starting lineup just once since his return on July 25, manager Terry Francona looked at it as the perfect time to get Ortiz a breather.
"I thought about it during the game last night, and told him, 'Why don't you come check with me after the game, this might be a good day for you not to play,'" said Francona. "He did after the game, and we both kind of thought it might be a good thing to do. It's not easy [not] writing his name in the lineup, but tonight seems like a good night. You've got a guy that's been real tough on him, real tough on lefties. I just think it would be a good thing to do."
Though Ortiz mentioned on Sunday that he still feels clicking in his wrist from time to time, Francona said that the DH's recovery has gone almost exactly as the team's medical staff projected.
"It's his second day off -- I could have talked him into playing today," Francona said. "I think it's good for him. I don't think anything has happened with his wrist that's [abnormal]. I think the medical people are pretty intelligent. They've hit this one right on, and I think a rest does him good sometimes. I think tonight is a good night to do it."
In 356 at-bats this season, Ortiz is hitting .270 with 18 homers and 73 RBIs. In 39 games since returning from the disabled list, Ortiz his hitting .295 with five homers and 30 RBIs.
The lack of Ortiz in the starting lineup made Francona do some re-shifting. Dustin Pedroia batted third, with Coco Crisp moving to the leadoff spot and Jed Lowrie occupying the No. 2 hole. Jeff Bailey served as the designated hitter and batted ninth.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.