PAWTUCKET — At this stage of his rehab assignment, David Ortiz is more concerned about feeling good when he steps out of the batter’s box as opposed to actual results.
The Red Sox star came out of Wednesday’s contest admitting that his injured heels are doing just fine. He finished hitless in four at-bats as Pawtucket bid adieu to a two-game losing streak with a 6-1 triumph against Lehigh Valley.
Now hitless in his last eight at-bats with the PawSox, Ortiz saw 19 pitches Wednesday night, his fifth game with the Triple-A club. His evening began with two at-bats against Lehigh Valley’s lefthanded starter, Cesar Jimenez.
He struck out on a 3-2 pitch in his first at-bat before fouling out to third base in his second turn. His third at-bat concluded with a hot shot up the middle that played directly into the shift that the IronPigs were employing. The result was a 6-3 double play.
His fourth and final at-bat saw Ortiz fall behind 0-2. It ended with a shallow fly to center field.
“When I go down to first base, that’s my concern. Of course I want to hit, but that’s not what I worry about,” said Ortiz, who confirmed that he’ll be in the lineup for Thursday’s homestand finale for Pawtucket.
Ortiz said that the pain in his feet has reached the point where it’s tolerable. “Every day I improve more and more. I’m not 100 percent yet, but I’m close. I think I can go back (to Boston) and be smart.”
On that front, Ortiz spoke about Dan Dyrek and what the Red Sox coordinator for sports medicine service has meant to him during his quest to return to big-league action. Dyrek has been at McCoy Stadium every day with the slugger and told Ortiz upon leaving that he would see him for a 9 a.m. appointment Thursday in order to begin treatment.
Beginning the process three hours before first pitch is part of the routine, Ortiz noted.
“My wife,” Ortiz kidded when asking about the attention Dyrek has paid to him. “Dan has helped me to build up confidence. He’s the one who’s physically and mentally worked with me just to make sure about the things I need to worry about and what I don’t need to about.”
The treatment that Ortiz needs in order to get on the field is extensive. After going through batting practice, the big man sat his locker while Dyrek rubbed ointments on his feet.
“It’s going to continue for a while before I’m finally like, ‘I’m fine,’” said Ortiz.
As for the game, Terry Doyle improved to 2-0 after tossing seven innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts. His only mistake came on a 2-2 changeup that Lehigh Valley’s Darin Ruf belted for a home run in the fifth inning.
“I know that if I throw my game, we’re going to be tough to beat,” said Doyle, now 2-0 for the PawSox.
Doyle was aided by home runs by Brandon Snyder and Ryan Lavarnway, the latter connecting for his first round tripper of 2013.