When it comes to running the bases, Boston slugger David Ortiz will never be confused with Rickey Henderson.
But the fact that Ortiz was able to run without pain Thursday night was the best news the Red Sox could have hoped for in his first rehab game with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Ortiz’s baserunning might have overshadowed his performance at the plate even though he was 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored in Pawtucket’s 5-4 victory over the Rochester Red Wings.
The designated hitter has been sidelined since July 16 with an Achilles tendon injury.
”I feel fine,” he said. ”That’s the important thing, to be able to run around the bases and be able to move around and be able to do that with freedom – without hesitation.”
Ortiz began the week playing in extended spring training games before heading to Pawtucket.
In the fifth inning Thursday, he went from first to third on an RBI double by Mark Hamilton.
”The couple of days I played in Florida went well,” Ortiz said. ”Basically, there wasn’t any hesitation when I was running the bases.”
In Ortiz’s first at-bat, right-hander Kyle Gibson (Minnesota’s No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft) got ahead 0-2 on fastballs and then missed the zone on his next two pitches. But Gibson got Ortiz to wave at an off-speed pitch for strike three.
Big Papi stepped to the plate again with two outs in the third and lined a first-pitch single to center.
While he didn’t exactly scald the ball in the fifth, Ortiz did hit a bouncer up the middle for an RBI single and eventually scored from third base on Drew Sutton’s single.