With Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz now on the 15-day DL with a right Achilles strain, his teammates realize they’re going to have to pick up the slack till the slugger makes a return to lineup.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine claimed during last Wednesday’s pregame meeting that Ortiz would be out “a week to 10 days” before he’s able to come back to the lineup. But Ortiz’s DL status means he will be out till at least August 1.
Ortiz suffered the injury during last Monday’s 5-1 triumph over the White Sox when he was circling around the bases after colleague Adrian Gonzalez crushed a 3-run homer in the 8th inning.
“He’s been our best hitter, our MVP so far this year and he’s carried us the entire 1st half,” Gonzalez asserted. “It’s going to take a team effort to make up for his loss.”
Ortiz had an MRI in Boston and traveled to Miami for a 2nd opinion before the decision was made to put him on the disabled list.
“Obviously, David’s our All-Star and he’s been the most important hitter in the lineup and the biggest force,” Red Sox infielder Nick Punto said. “It’s a big hit, but we have been taking hits all season long and we should survive it. The mood in this clubhouse is we must survive it because we’ve dealt with injuries all season long. Odds
“To be where we would like to be in October, we need to get through it. We have moving parts and guys who will fill in that part, but they are absolutely big shoes to fill.”
The injury couldn’t have occurred at less convenient time for the Red Sox, given that Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury latterly returned to the lineup. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia (thumb) also is ready to be activated from the disabled list.
“We were really excited to have Jacoby back and Carl and we had that one night (last Monday) where we had our lineup virtually fully intact without (Pedroia), and then you take a blow like that,” Punto recounted. “We’ll get to full strength and when we do, we have got a really good team.
“Hopefully, we just get hot at the correct time. All great teams get hot and win a lot of games in a row. We haven’t done that yet, but this team has that it in them and when we’re able to that point, we’ll be in good shape.”
Ortiz leads the Boston Red Sox in batting average (.316), home runs (23), RBIs (58), runs (65) and walks (56) in 89 games this season; he is the only player in the majors leading his team outright in all 5 classes. He also has at least a hit and a walk in 10 games in a row, breaking Ted Williams’ club record set in 1950.
To fill his spot on the check-list, Red Sox recalled Mauro Gomez from Triple-A Pawtucket.
“We’re really going to miss him, although he’s only on the 15-day disabled list,” Crawford related. “It’s a big dissatisfaction for us, and we’re definitely going to miss him.