NEW YORK — David Ortiz is on a timetable to rejoin the Boston Red Sox in the middle of the third week of April.
The designated hitter plans to travel Thursday to the team’s extended spring training in Fort Myers, Fla. He has been sidelined nearly all spring with heel inflammation after missing much of the second half of last season with a right Achilles tendon injury.
“He continues to move along the prescribed plan that’s in place,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Wednesday’s game against the New York Yankees. “I know with each passing day he feels better about himself, with the intensity ramping up with his running.”
Ortiz could start an injury rehabilitation assignment next week. Ortiz’s minor league games likely will be with Triple-A Pawtucket.
“I think he’d feel comfortable with 25-30 at-bats,” Farrell said.
Shortstop Stephen Drew, sidelined since he was hit on the helmet by a pitch during a spring training game on March 7, played four innings and had four at-bats in extended spring training Wednesday. Drew is on the seven-day concussion DL and is to start a rehab assignment Thursday at Double-A Portland, Maine. He can play a maximum of five games while on the concussion DL.
Ludwick expected to miss at least 3 months: In Cincinnati, Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick is expected to miss at least three months after having surgery Wednesday to repair torn cartilage in his right shoulder.
Ludwick dislocated his nonthrowing shoulder while sliding into third base in Cincinnati’s opening 3-1, 13-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. An MRI a day later found the cartilage tear.
The Reds initially were reluctant to put a timeframe on his return, waiting to see what doctors found during the surgery. Manager Dusty Baker was told that Ludwick could be out for 13 to 14 weeks.
“Hopefully sometime after the All-Star break, we’ll get a fresh and new player back,” Baker said.
The Reds put Ludwick on the 15-day disabled list and called up outfielder Derrick Robinson to make his major league debut. Chris Heisey, who has been a reserve outfielder the last few years, will get a chance to play in left field full-time.
“I haven’t done it for four years now, I guess,” Heisey said. “I’ve done it for stretches of two or three weeks, but for a long stretch of time, I haven’t. It’ll be an adjustment, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Kazmir to miss first start: In Toronto, Cleveland Indians left-hander Scott Kazmir will miss his first scheduled start of the season because of a sore abdominal muscle on his right side.
Kazmir felt fine after a 30-pitch bullpen session Wednesday, but manager Terry Francona decided to play it safe rather than start Kazmir at Tampa Bay on Saturday. Kazmir will return to Cleveland for tests and rejoin the team before Friday’s game against the Rays.
The Indians will choose a replacement starter Thursday, Francona said.
Kazmir hasn’t pitched in the major leagues in almost two years. A two-time All-Star with Tampa Bay, he was released by the Los Angeles Angels in 2011 and pitched in the independent Atlantic League last year.
Also Wednesday, the Indians claimed right-hander Robert Whitenack on waivers from the Chicago Cubs and optioned him to Double-A Akron.
Marcum to have neck examined: In New York, Mets manager Terry Collins said Shaun Marcum is coming to New York to have his pitching shoulder and neck examined by team doctors Thursday.
Collins said Aaron Laffey would likely make a spot start in place of the right-hander Sunday.
Marcum was unable to pitch a simulated game Tuesday at the Mets’ spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., because of discomfort running from his shoulder up his neck. Marcum has had several injury setbacks this spring and has not pitched in any spring training games since March 16.
Marcum signed a $4 million, one-year deal with the Mets during the offseason. Laffey is 25-29 with a 4.38 ERA in six major league seasons with four teams.