David Ortiz is hurt, we know this. His injury is related to his Achilles injury but not, it seems, a sign that it lingers so much as a sign that it once existed. We know that he's swinging bats, but not running bases. We know that he's not going to make Opening Day, and likely won't see action for at least a couple of weeks.
After those weeks pass, however? We don't know. We hope, we fear, but we don't know.
When David Ortiz is healthy, he's back to being one of the best hitters in baseball. I think we're past the point where we feel it necessary to hedge our joy at his renaissance with skepticism that it can continue. The fact of the matter is that Ortiz has, over the past three years, provided the Red Sox with a .950 OPS over 1600 plate appearances. He is back, and until he sows his age we should feel just fine taking that for granted.
But when will David Ortiz be healthy?
It's not unreasonable for Ortiz to be dealing with some byproducts of the injury the way he is now, but it's hard not to look at this at-first innocuous heel injury and wonder how, so many months later, it's not just a distant memory. The rational part of us should scream that this inflammation isn't anything to worry about long-term, and once it's gone it's gone. The fan--in particular, the Red Sox fan in us calmly replies that surely this is a sign of the end of days and that we'll be lucky if David Ortiz' heel doesn't somehow end up being contagious, felling the whole club.
Which side has the better argument? What do you expect out of Big Papi in 2013?