Drew targets home opener; Ortiz, third week

NEW YORK -- Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell on Wednesday offered encouraging news for disabled players Stephen Drew and David Ortiz, indicating that shortstop Drew could be back for next Monday's home opener and that DH Ortiz is on track to return to the team by the third week of April.

Drew played for the second straight day in an extended spring training game in Florida and will join Double-A Portland for the Sea Dogs' season-opening game Thursday night at Hadlock Field against the Trenton Thunder. Drew is on the seven-day disabled list for players with concussions, and Farrell said Drew can play a maximum of five games on a rehab assignment, which does not include games in extended spring.

At the moment, Farrell said, the Sox have Drew mapped out through four games, which would take him to the end of the Sea Dogs' four-game series with Trenton on Sunday afternoon. The Sox open at home the next day against the Baltimore Orioles.

Farrell said Drew was "turning the corner" even before the club broke camp last Saturday, and has not experienced, at game speed this week, a recurrence of the "spinning sensation" that has plagued him since he was hit by a pitch on March 7.

Ortiz, meanwhile, is scheduled to travel Thursday to Fort Myers, continue the rehab and running work he has been doing here for a couple of days, then play in a game Monday. Ortiz, who said he was feeling good, said that he may play in a game even sooner than that, but that's the plan.

"David told me he would feel comfortable with 25 to 30 at-bats, which will likely take place at Pawtucket," Farrell said.

Farrell would not predict how long Ortiz will play in games in Florida before joining the PawSox.

"We're still hopeful the target time [for Boston] is the third week of April."