David Ortiz cleared to pinch-hit, return to lineup Wednesday

6 Comments

Jacoby Ellsbury was back in the lineup tonight after missing three games with a bruised back and it appears David Ortiz isn’t far behind him.

According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Ortiz tested his right heel before tonight’s game against the Rangers by running some sprints in the outfield. He’ll still have to be cleared by the Red Sox medical staff, but indicated that he may be ready to return to the starting lineup as soon as Wednesday.

“I could be in the lineup right now. I can’t watch this (expletive) no more,” Ortiz said with a smile. “But I’ve got to wait to see what the doctor says because it’s something that, if you don’t do things exactly the way they say, it can catch up with you later on. I don’t want to be stupid.”

Ortiz didn’t even discount the possibility that he could be available to pinch-hit tonight, though that would probably be pushing things a bit.

Ortiz, 35, is batting .300/.388/.557 with 24 homers, 79 RBI and a .945 OPS over 464 plate appearances this season. Rookie Ryan Lavarnway has served as the primary designated hitter during his absence and entered play Tuesday batting .294 (5-for-17) with a double, two RBI and a 4/4 K/BB ratio.

UPDATE: Heidi Watney of NESN reports that Ortiz has received clearance from the doctor and is available to pinch-hit tonight and return to the lineup tomorrow.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

Getty Images
6 Comments

There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).