David Ortiz was aiming to return from the disabled list for Sunday’s series finale against the Indians, but it’s increasingly likely that he won’t be ready.
Progress has been slow since Ortiz received a pain-killing injection in his ailing right heel on Monday. The veteran slugger was scheduled to go through agility drills and run the bases before last night’s game, but Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine told Tim Britton of the Providence Journal that he rested instead.
Ortiz is expected to ramp up running activities again today, but when asked specifically whether he thinks he’ll be back Sunday, Valentine said, “I don’t think so.”
Ortiz hasn’t played since straining his right Achilles tendon while running the bases on July 16. The 36-year-old is hitting .316/.414/.609 with 23 home runs, 58 RBI and a 1.024 OPS in 89 games played this season. He told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe yesterday that he’s resigned to playing through pain for the rest of the year.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.