Valentine lacked what he called “earth-shattering” updates on Ortiz’ condition before a thunderstorm delayed the start of last night’s series-opening 7-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park [map]. But he said general manager Ben Cherington told him earlier in the week to “prepare just in case (Ortiz) is not going to come back.”
Nevertheless, Ortiz is not yet ready to resume running. And with the Red Sox having fallen out of wild card contention, there isn’t much point to rushing Ortiz back to the field, even though the offense has been only mediocre without him.
“I’m not sure that that’s the official word yet,” Valentine said. “He’s feeling good, but I haven’t heard anything about any baseball activities that are planned.”
Herald - Don't bank on David Ortiz
As Scott Lauber writes above, there is no reason to bring Ortiz back this season. With the Sox out of contention, to risk another set-back is foolish. Let the man rest up and heal properly.
For Sox fans, at least those of us that obsess over Papi, his being out of the lineup may be a good thing. With his bat removed, the offense has sputtered. Sure, there's plenty of other factors at play, but removing the slugger from the heart of the lineup has been disastrous.
As silly as it sounds, his absence may be a better negotiating tool than his .318 average and 1.026 OPS. He never felt that Sox management appreciated him, regardless of how many runs he drove home. Every stellar season was met with a lukewarm reception. But now? Now that they see what happens when he's not in play? That will only help his cause.
Of course, this assumes that he wants to be back on Boston which may not be the case at all. There will be a market for David Ortiz this winter. Someone is going to be willing to give him the multi-year deal he so desperately desires. If Boston has any intentions of keeping him, they're going to have to come strong right out of the gate. Not having the money to give him a decent offer is no longer a valid excuse.
I expect the Sox to be turning a lot of pages this offseason, but they'd be foolish to let Papi leave. If the Sox brass don't appreciate what Ortiz does for this club after the past few weeks, they aren't paying attention.
Rest of the links:
Herald - Felix Doubront drubbed in defeat | Bobby Valentine plans to be back | Globe - John Lackey to face hitters for first time since Tommy John surgery | John Farrell's focus squarely on the Blue Jays | WEEI - Red Sox will discuss whether to shut down Felix Doubront | Valentine interviewed Lovullo for bench coach | CSNNE - Jays leave Sox all wet, 7-5 | Pedroia's 400th RBI overshadowed by defeat