Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/9/14
Who needs spring training? David Ortiz has looked locked in at the plate since returning to the Red Sox’ lineup after missing the tail end of last season and all of spring training with an Achilles injury. Following a 3-for-4 performance against the Astros on Thursday, Ortiz is hitting .550 (11-for-20) in his first five games of 2013. “It’s remarkable the timing that he’s displayed, particularly after the layoff that he’s had,” manager John Farrell said after Boston’s 7-2 win. “I think even guys in the dugout are kind of marveling at what he’s been able to do as far as not only just contact, but driving the baseball. Once again, he’s pressed to run the bases and feels good.” Four of Ortiz’s 11 hits have been for extra bases, and he has five RBIs and six runs scored thus far. It’s a small sample to go off, obviously, but Ortiz looks to be in vintage form, which bodes well for the Red Sox’ offense. The scariest part for opposing teams is that Ortiz still isn’t completely back to where he wants to be. “It’s going to get there at some point,” Ortiz said. “I’ve been putting good swings on the ball and things have been happening. It’s a little different than what I can explain to you guys when it comes down to feeling at the plate. Some pitches that when you are locked in at the plate, they’re not going to be hits. They’re going to be homers.” If Ortiz is right in his self-assessment, then Thursday shows that he’s getting closer to becoming the power hitter he sets out to be each season. Ortiz blasted his first home run of the year off Houston starter Philip Humber in the third inning. It landed about four or five rows up in the center-field bleachers, and Ortiz joked after the game that he crushed it. All laughing aside, though, he did crush it, and the big fly serves as a reminder of what exactly the 37-year-old brings to the table. The Red Sox were swinging the bats well before Ortiz joined the mix, but the eight-time All-Star adds plenty of power potential to a lineup that’s been near the middle of the pack in the home run department. In other words, an already solid unit should only see improvements going forward. “It’s even better when you join the lineup when everybody’s swinging the bat pretty good,” Ortiz said. “It’s less pressure.” Less pressure applies to both Ortiz and his teammates. With a productive Ortiz plugged into the cleanup spot on a nightly basis, the rest of the order should see better pitches to hit, thus creating a more potent lineup from top to bottom. Ortiz already looks like he’s in midseason form, and he now holds a 17-game hitting streak dating back to last season. That’s his longest hitting streak as a member of the Red Sox and the second-longest of his career. Ortiz also looks to be running the bases well, which is encouraging given how concerning the DH’s running was during the offseason. “I think with each opportunity on the base paths, I think he’s realizing that the heel isn’t going to give him any issues and I think just subconsciously he’s just become more aggressive on the base paths,” Farrell said of Ortiz, who went from first to third on Mike Carp’s fifth-inning single, much to the dugout’s delight. “Not to say that he’s going to become a base stealer, but the ability to go first to third is key.” No one is going to nitpick Ortiz’s baserunning, but every piece of evidence that suggests he’s healthy is a welcome sight. Suddenly, it’s no longer a matter of whether Ortiz can make an impact in his return. It’s a matter of how big of an impact he’ll make this season. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Barkley, Reggie Miller condemn Indiana religious freedom bill

Report: Rick Barnes not expected back at Texas

Metta World Peace interested in coaching at St John's

Knicks want Marc Gasol, do they know what they’re asking for?

New York Rangers are the first team to clinch a playoff spot


Victorino: I plan on playing every day for Red Sox in 2015

The Rams are still planning on drafting a quarterback

Howard willing to make 'ultimate sacrifice' for Rockets

Pacquiao bought P. Diddy’s house for $12.5M, fight tickets

The Seahawks are already winning the NFL Draft

Fiancée takes stand at Aaron Hernandez's murder trial

WWE unveils Ultimate Warrior statue

WATCH: Tom Brady jumps off tall cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Dominique Wilkins in HORSE

Angels remove Josh Hamilton banner from front of stadium

Elite Eight preview: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

Support for relocation growing among NFL powers

Mother says special needs son forced to remove varsity letter

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Minnesota Timberwolves: Should they tank?

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

Twins to offer $19 Bloody Mary with pizza slice garnish

Ranking the NBA's hottest coaching seats

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Rick Barnes not returning to Texas?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

James Harden and the collective consciousness

Hottest coaching seats in NBA

Under-the-radar NL MVP candidates

Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight

The last Expo standing

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.