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

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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.