The news on David Ortiz is both good and bad, because it can't just be a simple, binary injury issue with the 2012 Red Sox. Ortiz participated in agility drills at Fenway Park on Thursday, hence the good news, as he wasn't able to do so at Yankee Stadium or during the Tigers series. Even better, his Achilles didn't simply combust after the drills.
As for the bad news, Ortiz still needs to do more strenuous power running drills, a notion that's kind of funny when it applies to David Ortiz. Or, at least, it's funny when you picture him power running with neon wrist and headbands on while he listens to oh, I don't know, Debbie Gibson to stay pumped up. Let's assume there are also leg warmers. He's a child of the 80s, friends, don't tell me you can't picture this.
This all means that Ortiz is a few days away from being at full strength, and that means he's going to miss the rest of the series against his former team, the Twins. That's a shame, as Ortiz, who always seems to be just a little bit scarier at the plate when he has a chip on his shoulder, is a career .335/.439/.653 hitter against Minnesota. Or, in comparative terms, Ortiz has been 35 percent more productive against the team that released him than he is in his general, day-to-day greatness.
Josh Beckett remains questionable for Sunday's start against the Twins, leaving us with the same TBD status for contest's starter that was in place in our Series Preview. The right-hander suffered back spasms while pitching on Tuesday night, likely from attempting to pitch in the rain, an environment that has messed with his health before. In fact, his 2010 season was essentially derailed because of it.
Should Beckett not be available to take his turn, there's Franklin Morales waiting in the wings. The addition of Craig Breslow to the bullpen means that Bobby Valentine can keep up his left-handed buddy cop flick of a bullpen plan*, pairing the cool, consistent southpaw Breslow with the erratic, inexperienced, but productive Andrew Miller, and in turn make Morales into a starter once more. Given his performance in a Red Sox uniform since coming over from the Rockies last May, including his short stretch as a starter with Boston -- his first since 2009 with Colorado -- this is something to celebrate.
*Don't take this as a complaint, by the way. Most teams don't have two good lefties in their pen, but it isn't necessarily because they don't want them, more a matter of there just aren't enough good lefties out there to pull it off. With Boston in a lefty-heavy division, with parks that boost the production of left-handers, their insistence on two southpaws out of the pen makes all kinds of sense.
Last up, there's word on the status of Andrew Bailey's rehab assignment. He threw one inning for the GCL Red Sox on Wednesday, and is set to make his second appearance on Friday. Once again, it will be with the Gulf Coast League, but he's likely to shoot up the minor-league ladder following this one. Bailey was expected to have roughly half-a-dozen appearances out of the pen before coming to Boston for the first time all season, and you'd have to think that at least the last pair of them will come on back-to-back days in order to see if he's ready. That means that Bailey, barring setbacks, should be back by or before mid-August.