ARLINGTON -- David Ortiz made his presence felt not only at the plate in the Red Sox's 13-2 win vs. the Rangers on Wednesday, but also on the bases, playing in his first game since Aug. 14.
Out nine games with right heel bursitis, Ortiz zoned in on the first pitch he saw and raked it into right field for an RBI single.
And later in the inning, when Carl Crawford ripped a double down the line in right, Ortiz rumbled all the way home from first, not seeing the stop sign from third-base coach Tim Bogar.
Ortiz stopped at third for a moment and then started again. He would have been out by at least 10 feet, but Rangers catcher Mike Napoli somehow dropped the ball.
"It was my fault, because unless I see the stop sign, I shouldn't stop," Ortiz said. "He was just like looking at the ball and not giving me any signs, so I continued running."
The most important thing is that he felt no discomfort whatsoever in his right heel.
"When I had to run to the plate, I told myself, 'You have to go and see how you're feeling.' I felt fine," Ortiz said.
In the fifth, Ortiz doubled to right, moved to third on a bunt and then raced home on a sacrifice fly.
"When you're in there, you're in there," said manager Terry Francona. "When you play, you're ready to go. That was a good test."
With Jacoby Ellsbury coming back on Tuesday, the Sox are just down one member of their starting nine. Third baseman Kevin Youkilis is back in Boston recovering from his back injury, and he hopes to return the first day he is eligible to be activated, which is Sept. 2 against the Rangers.
"He just continues to ramp up on the cardio, things like that -- the intensity," Francona said. "The hope is that when we get back home off this trip, he can start doing baseball activities, and his back and body are feeling pretty good and he can kind of slide right in and get going."
Right fielder J.D. Drew, who had lost his starting job in right field to Josh Reddick shortly before going on the DL with a left shoulder impingement, should return on Sept. 1.
Slowly but surely, the Red Sox are close to getting back to full strength.
"Well, that would be nice, but again, I really don't ever sit around and think about it, because we're going to play who we're playing tonight and try to win -- and that's what we believe in," Francona said. "Writing David's name in the lineup is nice."
Jenks to start Minor League rehab Saturday
ARLINGTON -- Reliever Bobby Jenks, on the 15-day disabled list with a left back injury, threw his second simulated game in three days at the team's Spring Training complex in Fort Myers, Fla.
Everything went well, and Jenks is now on track for a Minor League rehab stint, which will start Saturday. Because of a developing storm, the Red Sox are keeping their options open on a venue for Jenks.
"Yeah, he did well," said manager Terry Francona. "They'll get it all figured out, but it will be Saturday. This will give him a couple of days to kind of travel. He's been getting after it pretty good. That will give him a couple of days to rejuvenate and then he'll pitch an inning."
Rosters can expand to 40 players Sept. 1, and while that might be a little quick for Jenks to re-join the Red Sox, Francona said the righty could be close to that day.
Sox preparing Hurricane Irene contingencies
ARLINGTON -- With Hurricane Irene possibly touching down in New England at some point this weekend, the Red Sox are trying to figure out how to best play the entirety of their three-game series against the Oakland Athletics.
Because Sunday might be a complete washout, there have been at least preliminary discussions about playing a doubleheader Saturday.
"I'm not a meteorologist, but sometimes [the weather reports] are wrong," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "We'll see what path it takes. But we are trying to make as many contingency plans as possible."
The Sox and A's have no common off-days for the rest of the season. In fact, Oakland won't be anywhere on the East Coast the rest of the way.
"It sounds like it could be anything from us having trouble getting home [from Texas] to who knows," said manager Terry Francona. "It sounds like it's going to be iffy. That [stuff] changes so fast. I don't know. I know they're trying to brainstorm."
Francona gets another basketball fix in Texas
ARLINGTON -- Ten days ago in Seattle, manager Terry Francona had the thrill of visiting with basketball legend Bill Russell, who was an 11-time champion with the Boston Celtics. Before Wednesday's game against the Rangers, Francona visited with Mark Cuban, the owner of the recently minted NBA champions, the Dallas Mavericks.
Don Kalkstein, who is a part-time sports psychologist for the Red Sox and also works for the Mavericks, arranged the meeting.
"What a treat," Francona said. "A bunch of guys came in. I think they were all really excited to see him. [Dustin Pedroia] came in and embarrassed himself. It was fun."
Rick Carlisle, a former Celtic and the coach of the Mavs, threw out the first pitch before Tuesday's game. Francona visited with Carlisle in his office before Tuesday's game.