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04/04/2013 12:50 AM ET

Papi could return to lineup by middle of April

NEW YORK -- Slugger David Ortiz is starting to turn a corner in his rehab from a right Achilles' heel injury, and he could be back in the Red Sox's lineup in a couple of weeks.

"We're still hopeful of a target timeframe of sometime middle, third week of April," said manager John Farrell.

Ortiz will fly back to Fort Myers, Fla., on Thursday to continue his exercises there and hopes to play in an extended spring training game there.

Not long after, Ortiz should start an official rehab assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket.

"In talking with David, I think he'd feel comfortable with 25, 30 at-bats, likely to be taking place at Pawtucket," Farrell said. "When that rehab assignment begins remains to be seen."

Ortiz originally injured his Achilles tendon on July 20. Ortiz made a one-game comeback on Aug. 24, but he aggravated the injury and hasn't played since.

Iglesias holding his own at short

NEW YORK -- Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias is pouncing on the opportunity that has been presented to him.

Over the first two games, he is 5-for-9 with a double while making a collection of solid plays at shortstop.

However, Iglesias will go back to the Minors perhaps as early as next week, as Stephen Drew could return from his concussion by Monday's home opener.

"We're certainly not going to take away from what Jose's done, but we signed a premium guy in the offseason to be our starting shortstop and we're not going to look at an injury to cause him to lose his job," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

The good news is that Iglesias looks like a far more polished hitter than the one who finished last season in a prolonged slump.

"I think the biggest change was in my mind," said Iglesias. "I put in the hard work this offseason to be in this position today and to help this team win some ballgames. I feel pretty good, like I said."

As far as what happens once Drew returns to action, Iglesias knows he can't control that.

"No, I haven't heard anything," Iglesias said. "I'm just focused on playing the game one day at a time and be in the best position possible to help this team win some ballgames."

Bradley makes first career hit count

NEW YORK -- Jackie Bradley Jr.'s Major League debut included a highlight-reel catch, an impressive walk after falling behind in the count, 0-2, and all-out hustle in avoiding a forceout at second base. Therefore, it was easy to forget that he didn't actually get a hit.

The outfielder remedied that in the second game of his Major League career, pounding a clean RBI single up the middle to help fuel the Red Sox to a 7-4 victory over the Yankees on Wednesday night.

By the time Bradley returned to his locker after the game, one of his teammates had placed the ball on the shelf just behind him. In fact, the outfielder didn't notice it was there until a reporter pointed it out to him.

"I'm glad I did it," said Bradley. "It was a big opportunity right there and you know, I got an RBI out of it, too, so it's pretty sweet."

When David Ortiz returns to action -- which should be in the next two to three weeks -- the Red Sox will have to make a decision on Bradley.

Can they find a way to create more playing time or will they send him back to the Minors?

"I'm just trying to do what I can to help out the team. Whatever they have in the plans for the future with me, you know I'm all for," Bradley said. "I'm just trying to help the team out while I'm here."

Bradley continues to impress his teammates, not to mention manager John Farrell.

"He had a big RBI," said Farrell. "Once again, he spits on a couple of tough pitches, gets himself in a good hitter's count and -- obviously we talked about it after Opening Day -- he continues to take everything in stride and looks very comfortable at the plate."

Drew making progress, could debut in home opener

NEW YORK -- When the Red Sox play the Orioles in Monday's home opener, starting shortstop Stephen Drew could make his debut with his new team.

Drew, who suffered a concussion after being hit in the batting helmet on March 7, has played in extended spring training games the past two days.

He will start a Minor League rehab assignment at Double-A Portland on Thursday.

Because Drew is on the seven-day disabled list, he is only eligible to play five games on his rehab assignment.

Farrell said the current plan is for Drew to play four games, which would put him on track to play at Fenway Park on Monday.

"Once we were getting down to the last couple of days [of Spring Training], he started to turn the corner in terms of day to day feeling consistent without the spinning sensation that he was going through," said Farrell. "He's in a good place right now, all things considered."

Nava gets DH nod in Game 2; Gomes sits

NEW YORK -- The one adjustment that manager John Farrell made to his lineup for the second game of the season was the insertion of Daniel Nava as the designated hitter. In fact, Nava batted second while Shane Victorino moved down to the seventh spot.

Jonny Gomes was the odd man out against Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda. Though Gomes has historically been a far better hitter against left-handers, Farrell said he will try to give Gomes some reps against righties.

"Yes, we do," Farrell said. "Even the other day against [Joba] Chamberlain, I know it was a first pitch fastball, but I think the one thing Jonny was pretty clear about in Spring Training was maybe simplifying his approach against right-handers and being more clear with what he was looking for in certain counts. You don't want to over-examine one at-bat, but I thought he swung the bat well against righties in Spring Training."

At least at this point in the season, Gomes and Nava should see just about all of the at-bats at DH.

"Until we get initially into a stretch of everyday guys who might need a spot at the DH slot to get them off their feet for a day, [Gomes and Nava] would be the intent," Farrell said.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.