BOSTON -- When Adrian Gonzalez was shipped to Los Angeles in the megadeal that became official Saturday afternoon, it left the Red Sox with just one big bat in the middle of its lineup, that being the imposing presence of designated hitter David Ortiz. However, a day after returning from an Achilles strain, Ortiz was out of the lineup and perhaps in need of more time off.
"We're going to evaluate, meet and evaluate his situation again," manager Bobby Valentine said. "It bothered him [Friday night], yeah. It wasn't as pain-free as he was hoping."
Ortiz returned after a 35-game absence Friday, pouncing on the first pitch he saw for a two-run single. It was part of a 2-for-4 performance that also included some noticeable limping.
Valentine said he envisioned playing Ortiz "every other day" to start out with anyway. However, the pain was more severe than Ortiz expected and with the Red Sox virtually removed from playoff contention, there exists a possibility that he could be shut down for the season.
"I think what would be best for David if he's healthy is to make sure everyone knows that he's healthy for the rest of the season," Valentine said. "It wouldn't be my shutting him down. If the medical staff and David thought that was right for him this year and for his career, then that might have to happen."
The Sox were just three games out of the wild-card race when Ortiz was injured July 16. They went 13-22 without his bat in the lineup, all but destroying their postseason chances. Forcing Ortiz into the lineup now could have ramifications beyond the team's 2012 outlook.
For instance, a rupture of the Achilles could prove extremely difficult for a lumbering, soon-to-be 37-year-old. It would require a lengthy rehab, all while Ortiz seeks a new contract. The team and Ortiz will be mindful of not pushing the issue.
"The medical staff has assured me, [general manager Ben Cherington] and David that the rupturing of the Achilles is highly unlikely, even though it's highly unlikely for everyone and people do tear that Achilles tendon," Valentine said. "He's in the same category basically as you are as far as it just rupturing because of his running. But there's some pain to deal with and if upon further review that chance increases, I would think we wouldn't allow that to happen."