Please, please come back. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
While he team was busy getting beaten up by the Los Angeles Angels, those not on the active roster were moving towards health, be it for the near or distant future.
First, in what should be just about the best news of the month (there has been rather little good news in August...) David Ortiz is on the mend, and could well be activated some time tonight before the Sox take on the Royals.
Ortiz has of course been out since July 16, when he came up lame while rounding the bases on an Adrian Gonzalez home run. You might remember July 16 as being mixed right in with the last few days anyone was clinging onto hopes for the 2012 Red Sox.
While the injured Achilles initially did not seem likely to leave David Ortiz on the shelf for long--there was even a question of whether or not to put him on the disabled list--every single time the team tried to get their designated hitter running, the pain remained, and leading to one, two, and finally three weeks of setbacks beyond the initial 15-day DL stint.
Finally, though, Ortiz seems ready to go. Both Valentine and Ortiz said he felt good today after running the bases, and while the slugger doesn't think he's entirely ready, he does think he's at a point where he can clearly play.The question will be whether that feeling has held up, or if a night's rest has given his Achilles time to flare up again--always a concern with this sort of thing.
If nothing else, Ortiz' return to the lineup would likely make for a more stable batting order, which should serve to preserve the sanity of anyone trying to figure out the daily shuffles.
Meanwhile, Felix Doubront is also ready to come off the disabled list, though he will wait until Sunday. Bobby Valentine acknowledged Friday that Doubront was scheduled to start the final game of the weekend series against the Kansas City Royals, making his return form a knee-and-fatigue-induced trip to the disabled list.
While the knee is the main listing for the DL stint, the fatigue could well be the real culprit. Since emerging as the most consistent starter in the Red Sox' rotation early on, Doubront has flagged over the last few months. It's been widely speculated that Doubront was struggling with the increase in his innings load and frequency over last year's, with the lefty already having thrown half-again as many as he did in an injury-hampered 2011 season.
It will be interesting to see what Doubront can do with a couple of weeks' rest behind him. Given how impressive he was in the first two months of the year, Sox fans have some hope for 2013 wrapped up in Doubront's ability to be a strong back-end starter.
Finally, there's Carl Crawford, the man who needed surgery. He knew it, his doctors knew it, we all--well, we didn't know, but we at least expected based on the comments of Carl and what he said his doctors said. Anyways, after dancing around it for a bit, and getting Crawford some solid plate appearances in 2012 to show that he's not quite dead yet, the organization finally agreed, and Crawford has now had Tommy John surgery.
The surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews, who is of course the last name anyone wants to hear when it's time for diagnosis and the first name when surgery has been decided on. The surgery was a success, and Carl is expected to make a full recovery. If you check your Red Sox medical staff decoder rings, that loosely translates to "we accidentally operated on the wrong arm, and totally thought it was an amputation. A leg might be missing too.".
The question now becomes whether he will be back in time for the start of 2012. While we heard some rosy estimates early on, when Tommy John surgery was first being mentioned, over time it's become clear that the recovery period for position players can last as long as nine months. If his recovery tends towards the quicker end of the spectrum, he should be back with time to spare. If it takes longer, well, that month of playing time could look like an awfully pointless venture.
Only time will tell.