David Ortiz hitting cleanup in return from disabled list

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The Red Sox have officially activated David Ortiz from the disabled list. The veteran slugger will serve as the designated hitter and bat cleanup in his season debut this afternoon against the Royals at Fenway Park.

Ortiz, who was forced to begin the season on the disabled list due to inflammation in both of his heels, batted .222 (4-for-14) with a home run and four RBI in six rehab games with Triple-A Pawtucket. The 37-year-old was originally scheduled to be activated yesterday, but the game was postponed because of the manhunt for the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Ortiz is a huge part of Boston’s offense, so they have to be pretty thrilled with what they were able to do without him. The Red Sox will enter play this afternoon with the American League’s best record at 11-4. Of course, they’ve done that more on the backs of their pitching than their offense, so Ortiz will be a welcome sight.

53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro homers in independent league ball

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It was announced earlier this month that 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro signed a contract with the Cleburne Railroaders of the independent American Association, joining his son, former minor leaguer Patrick Palmeiro. The four-time All-Star went 0-for-8 to begin his stint with the club before launching a solo homer in the fifth inning last night. Check it out below.

If we’re being technical here, that was his first home run since July 30, 2005. He hit the homer off 28-year-old Trey McNutt, former prospect with the Cubs and Padres. Palmeiro made his major league debut in 1986, three years before McNutt was born.

Palmeiro told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic last December that he was thinking about a comeback, but he understandably didn’t garner any serious consideration from MLB teams. This comeback attempt might not lead anywhere, but hey, he gets to show that he can still mash while hitting in the same lineup with his son. Palmeiro did that once before with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2015, though it was just a one-game thing. As for the Railroaders, the national media attention can only help them.

Palmeiro is one of just six players in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, but he’s been a disgraced figure in the game since a failed drug test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2005. He dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2014.