Big Papi starts rehab assignment

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz stepped into a batter's box for the first time since Aug. 24 on Thursday.

Ortiz went 2 for 3 with an RBI, run scored and a strikeout to help the Pawtucket Red Sox to a 5-4 win over the Rochester (Twins) Red Wings in the first game of his minor league rehab assignment for an Achilles injury.

"I feel all right," he said. "I felt good running. I got to see some action on the bases and everything was fine."

Originally, he was hoping for four or five at-bats, but he settled for three.

"I was getting cold out there and I was getting a little sore, a good sore. I kind of ran a lot today, so you don't want to go too crazy about it and that's why I'm going to play a lot of games here, and I'll get ready for tomorrow."

During his first at-bat, he had an 0-2 count when Red Wings starter Kyle Gibson delivered a pitch low and inside, forcing Ortiz to jump out of the way. He showed no ill effects and worked the count 2-2 before striking out swinging.

Ortiz then hit a first-pitch single up the middle in his second at-bat in the third inning. In the fifth, he provided a RBI single up the middle, but more importantly, he showed no ill effects when he ran from first to third on double by PawSox teammate Mark Hamilton. Ortiz then scored on Drew Sutton's single to left field.

"The couple of days I spent in Florida, we were testing that [first to third] and it went well. Basically, there was no hesitation when I was running the bases today."

Ortiz is also focused on his timing and facing live game pitching.

"That's another thing I'm concerned about," he said. "That's why we have a long spring training to make sure you get ready to play in a Major League Baseball game, and that's another area I want to make sure I cover some ground in."