David Ortiz is one step closer to rejoining the Red Sox.
On Thursday the Boston designated hitter will be penciled into the Pawtucket Red Sox’ lineup, beginning a rehab assignment and seeing live pitching for the first time since spring training. In March, Ortiz was shut down from baseball activities after experiencing difficulty with his surgically repaired Achilles.
According to ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes, Ortiz has told the team that he’ll need about 25 to 30 minor league at-bats before being ready to return to Boston. That would put him on track to rejoin the Sox during the team’s April 19-21 series at home against the Kansas City Royals.
Manager John Farrell said that the team is leaving the timetable for Ortiz’s return entirely up to Ortiz, himself.
“His return date to us is still uncertain at this point,” Farrell said on Wednesday. “That’s going to depend on David and how comfortable he feels in the box with his timing.
“… More than anything, the last four, five days he seemingly turned the corner. More aggressive running the bases, the way he feels at the plate. He’s in a pretty good place, all things considered.”
Ortiz has a clause in his contract that will pay him a full $15 million if he spends less than 20 days on the disabled list throughout the season.