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Ortiz on pace to return Aug. 1

NEW YORK -- Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is no longer wearing a protective boot, was planning to take batting practice here Friday, and should come off the disabled list when he is eligible next Wednesday at home against the Detroit Tigers, according to manager Bobby Valentine.

Ortiz went on the DL July 17 with what the team is calling a strained right Achilles tendon. At the time he was hurt, he was on a season-best 11-game hitting streak (.429, 15-for-35), with almost as many walks (13) as hits.

Since June 25, a span of 18 games, Ortiz's on-base percentage of .519 was the highest in the American League (minimum 40 plate appearances), and his slugging percentage of .700 was fifth-highest in the league in that span.

The Red Sox are 3-6 since Ortiz sustained his injury while running the bases ahead of Adrian Gonzalez's three-run home run July 16 against the Chicago White Sox. Boston has scored just a total of 35 runs in that span, just under four runs a game, and has posted a collective .244/.276/.383/.659 batting line without him in the lineup.

Valentine has used four players as DH in Ortiz's absence, and they have combined to bat a collective .188 (6-for-32) with two extra-base hits, a triple and double: Pedro Ciriaco (4 starts, 3-for-14, triple), Cody Ross (3 starts, 2-for-11, double), Mauro Gomez (1 start, 1-for-4), and Daniel Nava (1 start, 0-for-3). Nava, who served as Sox DH in the first game missed by Ortiz, was back in the DH spot Friday night, batting eighth.

"David is on pace to be back when his (DL) stint is over," Valentine said Friday.