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David Ortiz (finally) swings a bat again

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Big Papi was shut down for over a week, but finally picked up a bat again on Tuesday

Elsa

That's right, David Ortiz's heels have improved enough that he's finally back in the batting cage after just over a week off from baseball activities. He didn't swing once, nor twice, but 50 times, according to WEEI's Rob Bradford. That might not seem like much, but if you've been following the Ortiz injury story, it is.

Earlier on Tuesday, Jon Heyman reported that while the Red Sox hoped mid-April was a possibility for Ortiz's return, the more realistic date on the calendar might be May 1. A reason for that was Ortiz's still being shut down, and the aforementioned period of more than a week without as much as a single swing of the bat due to inflammation in his heels. However, 50 swings is a major change from zero, and as long as Ortiz doesn't wake up tomorrow with heels inflamed to the size of a large tree (or, really, trees of most sizes), then we can all finish Wednesday more optimistically than we did our Tuesday, with regard to the Sox' best hitter.

It's too early to be that optimistic about it -- consecutive days of baseball activity could restart the whole process once again -- but anything that lessens the chances of April without an Ortiz appearance is a positive. With spring training nearly over, a rehab assignment in the minors could be necessary before he slots into Boston's lineup. Playing those games in early April beats the hell out of late April.