David Ortiz missed over two months of 2012 with an Achilles injury, but it's expected he'll be ready to go for the upcoming season
David Ortiz missed nearly half of the 2012 season after suffering an injury to his Achilles. Prior to that point, Ortiz had hit .316/.414/.609, and was the top hitter in the Red Sox lineup at a time when there wasn't enough of that going around. He would appear in just one more game, though, more than a month later, and though he was 2-for-4 with a double in that contest, it turned out his Achilles wasn't healed enough after all.
Because of this, we haven't yet had a chance to see how Ortiz is holding up, but it was assumed that a winter of shock wave therapy on his Achilles would do the trick. According to general manager Ben Cherington, that still seems to be the case, as it is expected Ortiz will be ready for Opening Day:
"He's hitting and doing his agility and starting to run," Cherington said Monday in an interview with MLB Network Radio. "He's David Ortiz. We'll see where he is as we report 10 days from now or so and take it from there. We don't have any reason to think he won't be in our lineup on Opening Day."
Failure to complete the running and agility portions of his initial rehab without pain is what kept Ortiz out so long in the first place, so the expectation that all is going according to plan post-treatment is a positive. One thing to note, however, is that Cherington isn't sure if Ortiz will be 100 percent by the time spring training opens. As long as he's able to play and get his swings in, giving himself enough reps to open the year strong as he has the past two seasons, it shouldn't be an issue if he's not fully ready to go in the next 10 days or so. It's something the Sox will be keeping an eye on, though, and understandably so, as they need Ortiz rested, healthy, and ready to contribute if they are to have a real chance in 2013. Lyle Overbay is solid bench insurance, but he's no Ortiz, and there is no one waiting at Pawtucket who can ably approximate that, either.
Evan Drellich of MLB.com also reports that the Red Sox inserted language into Ortiz's new two-year contract, regarding his Achilles. While it's not clear exactly what that language is, the intent is likely to protect them from a serious re-aggravation of the injury that costs Ortiz games and the Red Sox both wins and dollars.