David Ortiz homered this afternoon in a Triple-A game and declared his minor-league rehab assignment over, telling Tim Britton of the Providence Journal: “I think I go back to the big team tomorrow. … It’s time.”
Ortiz and the Red Sox have targeted Friday as his return date for a while now, but some recent heel soreness put that in question briefly. Ortiz went 4-for-18 overall on his rehab stint and indicated that he’ll need occasional days off, but feels he’s ready to hit. His last MLB game was August 24 and he’s played just one MLB game since mid-July.
Boston has primarily used Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava at designated hitter, with Mike Napoli also making a pair of starts there. Ortiz’s return likely means Jackie Bradley Jr. will head back to Triple-A and Gomes and Nava will split time in left field.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels said he doesn’t expect the club to make a $17.9 million qualifying offer to free agent third baseman Adrián Beltré, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports. Daniels has been in touch with the 39-year-old, who may retire.
Beltré battled hip and hamstring issues throughout the past season, limiting him to 119 games. He hit .273/.328/.434 with 15 home runs and 65 RBI in 481 plate appearances. Going by adjusted OPS, his mark of 98 — 100 is average — was his lowest in a season since 2009 with the Mariners. Beltré’s career average is 116 and he put up a 132 in 2017 and 128 in ’16.
Beltré appears to have some stuff left in the tank. He may not be an All-Star-caliber player anymore, but he can still hit at an average level and he is still an above-average defender. It’s just a matter of his body holding up to allow him to do what he needs to do. If Beltré does decide to re-up with the Rangers for 2019, the club will be prepared to move Isiah Kiner-Falefa or Jurickson Profar over to the hot corner as they did in 2018 in the event Beltré gets bitten by the injury bug.