Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz will return to the team's lineup on Friday night against the Kansas City Royals after missing 35 games this summer because of an Achilles injury, according to NESN's Tom Caron:
#RedSox lineup: Ciriaco 3B Ellsbury CF Pedroia 2B Ortiz DH Gonzalez 1B Ross RF Lavarnway C Aviles SS Podsednik LF— Tom Caron (@TomCaron) August 24, 2012
Ortiz hasn't played since July 16 against the Chicago White Sox, and with the 36-year-old out of the lineup, the Red Sox have gone from being an AL wild-card contender to just mediocre.
Ortiz left the lineup with Boston two games above .500 and will return with the Red Sox seven games below .500. Boston is 13-22 during his 35 game absence.
Boston is 13.5 games back of the New York Yankees in the AL East coming into Friday and 8.5 games back of the AL Wild Card.
The return of "Big Papi" could not have come at a better time it seems.
The hard-swinging DH has been one of Boston's best hitters, if not Boston's best hitter this season. Ortiz was batting .316 before his injury and still leads the team with 23 home runs despite missing the last month-plus.
Ortiz has 58 RBI coming into Friday night's game against Kansas City and boasts the best slugging percentage on the team .at 609.
Ortiz's current numbers are among his best and are reminiscent to those in 2007 when the Red Sox won the World Series.
Still, Ortiz can only do so much in his return. The real key for Boston to make a playoff push this fall will be their pitching, which has been disastrous at times this year.
Only the Toronto Blue Jays have allowed more runs of any AL East team than the Red Sox.
Either way, Red Sox fans will be more than thrilled to see David Ortiz return to the lineup on Friday night.
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