Ortiz Achilles Hurting Red Sox Lineup
David Ortiz will not be ready for opening day. I know shocker. After what seemed to be a rewarding offseason for the slugger getting a new 2 year deal he had been long waiting for, his achilles and heals will not be healed for opening day. This injury happened in July running out a double and then flared up for a one game return. I’m not saying Ortiz came into camp out of shape but how long will this injury effect the slugger who is expected to be a big part of the middle of the Red Sox lineup?
Many people were skeptical of the two year deal the Red Sox gave Ortiz and saw it as a public relations move as he got three one year deals in a row in past offseasons. Why give him a two year deal at age 37, when he is one of the only true designated hitters in the league? Throw him in the Christmas at Fenway commercials and make him the main part of the Red Sox brand and bring the fans back. I was one of the people who would not have been upset to have seen Ortiz walk this offseason. The Red Sox are working on short term deals trying to restore faith in the team and win now while waiting for the young players to come in a year or two. Ortiz can sometimes be a diva, like looking for his one RBI. He is here now and here through the 2014 season.
How long will Ortiz miss? That we do not know. He has not even played in a spring training game yet and can barely run the bases, so it could be a while. Sox manager John Farrell said that he will rotate the DH while Ortiz is out. Look for two and possibly all three in the group of Lyle Overbay, Mike Carp and Daniel Nava to make the team. All are trying to make the team being the first person off the bench for Mike Napoli at first base and fill in a little bit in the outfield. Also Mauro Gomez and Ryan Lavarnway could be thrown into the mix for the DH while Ortiz is out as they can hit. Overbay is the only one of that group who is not on the 40 man roster so his chances are lower than the rest. Overbay was willing to play outfield for the first time in his career for the Red Sox so if he continues to perform down the stretch of spring training, can’t see how the Red Sox cut him.
Carp and Lavarnway are the youngest of the crew looking to capitalize on this injury of Ortiz. Carp coming over from the Mariners at the beginning of spring training for cash seems to be performing in spring training, where he almost surely has a spot on this team before the Ortiz injury. Carp bats left handed which would fill in nicely for Ortiz and also help John Farrell with his lineup, which he has talked about going right, left, and so forth. Nava seems to be holding onto a reserve outfield spot unless Ryan Sweeney beats him out. Nava a switch hitter is giving first base a try in an attempt to make the team. Another fill in could be Jarrod Saltalamacchia where David Ross, who is stronger defensively, could see more time behind the plate.
There has also been talk of having Jonny Gomes DH and have Jackie Bradley Jr be the left fielder. I find that to be a great idea in the short term but I feel Bradley needs a month or two at AAA. Spring Training stats do hold some value and the kid is going to be a player for sure but an extra month of tearing minor league pitching should not be a problem for Bradley.
The Red Sox will need Ortiz to come back and be a big part of the middle of their lineup. We don’t really know the extent of the injury but this week he has been shut down from baseball activities. This opens up opportunities for other players to capitalize. Here’s to hoping someone steps up for Ortiz, cause if they do, you bet John Farrell will find more at bats for them.