Peace of Mind
“This [expletive] has been driving me crazy. I got no choice but to wait. I hope it goes away soon so I can get back into action.”
David Ortiz is in a tough spot. This offseason, he signed a two-year deal worth $26MM. He is at least 37-years old and is dealing with pain that is related to an injury he suffered last July
We are approaching eight full months since he suffered the injury, and fans are growing impatient.
In an ideal world, Ortiz would be batting third or fourth in a number of Spring Training games, slapping doubles off of the left field wall at JetBlue Park and driving balls deep over the right field fence.
But he’s not.
Instead, he’s undergoing MRI’s, occasionally running the bases, and taking batting practice from time to time. Ortiz is frustrated. He is sore. Quite frankly, he’s pretty pissed off.
“You always definitely need to play in spring training, because you need to see the game action. Whoever tells me they don’t have to play in spring training, I’m calling [expletive]. We have spring training for a reason.”
Big Papi is caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, he needs to do everything he possibly can to be ready as soon as possible. The Red Sox cannot afford to get off to a bad start for the third straight year. On the other hand, Ortiz has to be sure that when he suits up for his first game, he is back for good. On Monday, Ortiz admitted that Opening Day may be a long shot.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that the MRIs he underwent this past weekend revealed inflammation in each of his heels but no structural damage to his Achilles. I’m not close to being a doctor, but it’s clear that Ortiz has been compensating for the weakness he’s felt in his Achilles. Because of that, he has been dealing with a considerable amount of pain. Once that soreness subsides, the slugger will be able to begin chipping away at the roughly 50 at-bats he will need before he is major league game ready.
The Red Sox seem determined to be sure that when Ortiz is ready to come back, he is as close to 100 percent as possible. And when Ortiz is back, he will have the peace of mind in knowing that the pain he felt in the beginning of Spring Training was due to inflammation, not a setback concerning his Achilles strain from last summer. The fact that the Red Sox best hitter has been shut down for a period of time is disconcerting. There is no doubt about that. But the reactions from fans have been a little surprising to me.
This is the same guy who played an absolutely vital role in bringing two championships to this town, right? The 2004 ALCS? Ring a bell? The guy is a God of Boston. You’re going to tell your grandchildren about this dude. And if none of that is good enough — guess what? He’s still extremely productive. Before injuring his Achilles last season, Ortiz posted a 318/.415/.611 line to go along with 23 home runs. He’s pretty good at baseball.
Look, I get the complaints over signing him to a two-year deal, but let’s not make it seem like it’s a five-year deal worth $100MM. He’s a good player, and the Red Sox need him. The best thing for Ortiz, the Red Sox, and us is to be patient.
It will be worth the wait.