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.
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.