FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — David Ortiz was 0 for 3 in his return to Boston’s lineup after a nine-day absence, and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 5-4 Thursday.
Bothered by a cold and dehydration, Ortiz had not played since March 16. Ortiz struck out, grounded into a forceout and popped out against Tommy Milone, dropping his average to .222 (4 for 18).
The main thing for Ortiz, though, was getting back into a game.
"I’m trying to get the feeling back," Ortiz said.
His focus is working on his timing rather than on his spring statistics.
"That’s what the game is all about," Ortiz said. "Don’t worry about that now. Worry about making sure the wheels are what we want them to be.’
He felt better about his wheels after a third-inning ground ball to second base that looked as if it might become a double play. Ortiz, though, hustled down the line and beat the relay throw to first from Twins shortstop Danny Santana.
"That’s kind of a test that I want to get through," Ortiz said.
Red Sox manager John Farrell was also encouraged by the way Ortiz ran.
"He got down the line well," Farrell said. "Kept from being doubled up. I think it’s an indication that the soreness he’s been dealing with he’s feeling better."
The Red Sox are focused on having Ortiz and Mike Napoli ready for the season opener at Philadelphia on April 6. Napoli played for the first time March 18 and went 1 for 2 and scored a run. He had been sidelined with a sore right ankle.
"We’ve got 10 days remaining where they’re going to get ample at bats before we break here," Farrell said. "The next step back after a little bit of down time for both is and I think it will be good to get continuity in our lineup."
Rusney Castillo hit a 10th-inning home run off Jake Reed. Castillo, who signed a $72.5 million, seven-year contract, has two homers in spring training.
Mookie Betts hit his seventh double, walked and scored a run.
Red Sox starter Wade Miley allowed three runs and four hits in six innings, struck out four and walked one. Milone gave up three runs and six hits in five innings.