The time has come. The Red Sox have optioned outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to Pawtucket, making way for David Ortiz to rejoin the roster for Friday night's game against the Kansas City Royals.
Even those with low expectations would likely agree it was a disappointing debut for Jackie Bradley Jr. While there's no question he can handle himself defensively, when it comes to his ability at the plate, it didn't take long for major league pitching to find his weakness. They kept the ball inside, and the kept Bradley down. Eventually, they even kept him out of the lineup.
Now, however, Bradley will be free to get all the at bats he needs in Triple-A. He'll get to go up against less advanced pitchers and learn what works and what doesn't rather than just being consistently matched. And these 11-4 Red Sox, the ones who have lacked, if anything, an intimidating force in the lineup?
They get David Ortiz back.
It's been 10 months since we've seen Ortiz playing consistently. It's hard to believe, especially given how innocuously this injury saga started, but it's true. When last we left him, he was hitting .318/.415/.611. There's no telling when he'll get back to that level. There's no telling if he'll be able to. But it's hard to imagine he won't bring a boost to this lineup, even knowing what they've managed to do without him.