(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
While Ortiz' injury has lasted longer than anyone had ever imagined when the designated hitter first pulled up lame rounding the bases on an Adrian Gonzalez home run, Ortiz said that if things stay on the track they're on now, he should be back during the upcoming homestand, and that he's finally "seeing the light when it comes to my injury."
Presumably he means at the end of the tunnel, and not "this is a sign to open a chain specializing in funnel cakes." Though the latter might not be a bad idea...
Of course, any such suggestion has to be taken with some caution. Ortiz has seemed close to a return a few times before, only to have setbacks with his strange Achilles injury every time.
The Red Sox will be glad to have their long-time designated hitter back. The presence of Ortiz--second in the American League in wOBA and first in OPS--has been sorely missed. While they've only dropped .37 runs per game--not a terrible loss--in the 31 games they've played without Ortiz, there have been many times when the Sox have come up one batter short in the middle of the order. Cody Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia can occasionally pick up big hits, but they bring nowhere near the consistency or presence of Ortiz.
Sadly, even with the return of Ortiz, the Sox will still never see their full 2012 lineup. Will Middlebrooks is now gone for the year, and it seems as though Carl Crawford is set to follow shortly. Still, with Adrian Gonzalez in remarkable form since the All-Star break, the Sox will at least have one of the best 3-4 combinations in the game, assuming that Crawford's departure does indeed set them back to those spots in the lineup.