SOX ON DECK: Papi homers yet again in rout

Evan BrunellFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2008

Pawtucket Red Sox manager Ron Johnson may be reluctant to see David Ortiz return to Boston after he completes his minor league rehab assignment.

For the second time in two nights, Ortiz homered to key a PawSox victory — this time by a 6-1 score over the Toledo Mud Hens on Friday before a McCoy Stadium crowd of 11,140.

The game was called with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning because a rain storm and lightning made the field unplayable.

Ortiz’s leadoff homer in the fourth inning on Thursday ignited a seven-run explosion and Pawtucket went on to rout Toledo, 15-6.

Ortiz came to bat in the fifth inning Friday with Pawtucket leading 3-1 and runners on second and third with two outs.

Former PawSox right-hander Anastacio Martinez tried to slip a 1-1 fastball by Ortiz on the outside corner but Boston’s All-Star designated hitter belted a three-run homer into the left field berm to give Pawtucket a 6-1 lead.

“I feel good but the most important thing is my (left) hand is feeling good,” said Ortiz, who’s been on Boston’s disabled list since June 3 with a partially torn tendon sheath in his left wrist.

Ironically, Ortiz was working on hitting the ball the other way in batting practice.

“Normally when I’m hitting my game plan is to use the whole field,” Ortiz said after BP. “You’ve got to work on that in batting practice, obviously, so you can have it when you’re in the game. Everybody knows that I’m the kind of guy that everybody tries to get out away, so I’ve got to work on that.”

Ortiz, popped out to third in his first at-bat.

After drawing a leadoff walk in the fourth, he scored on a two-run homer by Chris Carter.

Ortiz walked on a 3-2 pitch with one out in the seventh and was replaced by pinch-runner Sandy Madera — moments before the game was halted.

The nature of the injury has delayed Ortiz’s return - one reason being before joining Pawtucket he had trouble holding onto his bat after a swing.

“Normally you finish your swing with your top hand,” he said. “You drive the ball with your top hand. It wasn’t easy after I got hurt. I couldn’t hold onto the bat or do anything with the bat at the time.

“My progress has been good so I guess I’m on pace from a medical standpoint. I’m happy with what’s happening.”

Despite the success he’s experienced during his rehab, Ortiz emphasized that he’s going to stick to his original schedule and play four games at Pawtucket plus three at Portland.

“I’m feeling good but I’m going to take my time,“ Ortiz said. “It’s only been a few days and I haven’t played for the last six weeks. I’m going to make sure everything is fine.”