David Ortiz unlikely to return this season

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We haven’t heard much about David Ortiz lately and there’s a pretty good reason for that, as there just isn’t much to report.

According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said this afternoon that Ortiz has made progress since receiving a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection for his strained right Achilles tendon on August 27, but that he isn’t ready to resume running. With the Red Sox out of contention and only a few weeks left in the season, Valentine said he is prepared to play without him for the rest of the year.

“I’m not sure that that’s the official word yet,” Valentine said. “Just prepare just in case he’s not going to come back. It’s not really my call. I mean, if he’s healthy and he loves to play the game of baseball, he could always go out there and bat it around a little. I’d hate to jeopardize his career, that’s for sure.”

Ortiz has put together one of the most productive seasons of his career at the age of 36, batting .318/.415/.611 with 23 home runs, 60 RBI and a 1.026 OPS in 90 games played. It just doesn’t make much sense to rush back, especially since a major setback could cost him big-time in free agency this winter.

Jim Hickey steps down as Cubs’ pitching coach

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The Cubs announced on Tuesday that Jim Hickey has stepped down as the pitching coach due to personal reasons. The club will begin a search for a replacement.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said in a statement, “Jim Hickey notified us yesterday of his decision to step down as pitching coach and leave the organization for personal reasons. We thank Jim for his season with the Cubs and his positive impact on our pitchers. Jim has our full support and we all wish him well.”

Hickey, 57, spent over a decade as a coach in the Rays organization before joining the Cubs for the past season, reuniting with Joe Maddon. The Cubs’ starting staff ranked 10th among all 30 teams with a 3.84 ERA and the bullpen posted an NL-best 3.35 ERA.