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3/9/2013 10:10 P.M. ET

Papi in danger of opening season on DL

Red Sox send slugger for MRI exam on lingering Achilles injury

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With David Ortiz not making the progress he had hoped with his right Achilles injury, the Red Sox sent the slugger out for a precautionary MRI exam on Saturday. They sent the results to a radiologist back in Boston for a reading.


Ortiz hasn't been ruled out for Opening Day, but it wouldn't be surprising if that becomes the case.

"He's undergone an MRI on both his heels, and that's where he's been feeling the discomfort," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "It hasn't been in that right Achilles specifically, it's been overall in both heels."

If nothing else, the club hoped that the MRI could give Ortiz some peace of mind.

"Just to rule everything out, he's undergone that imaging here today. I think the one thing that we still hold in all this is that, while the timing might not be what was maybe initially expected, the bigger picture is he's still making progress," Farrell said. "He's been able to run the bases -- as we know -- on the days that he has. He's been taking BP every single day. There's progress, yet maybe not as fast as he might have anticipated or hoped. Like I said, we're ruling everything out but at the same time we acknowledge that there's progress being made."

When would the Red Sox officially rule Ortiz out for Opening Day?

"Well, we'll see how this week goes," Farrell said. "We don't have a date earmarked. Our goal is to have David in our lineup for the greatest number of games that we can throughout the course of the year. It's not like April 1 is a drop-dead date for an entire season. We're not going to rush to any decision where we're saying, 'You know what, Opening Day is out.'"

The Red Sox will only start examining alternative plans for the lineup once they know for sure Ortiz will start the season late. Could there be an option in which highly touted prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. starts the season on the active roster, with an outfielder -- say Jonny Gomes -- serving as the DH?

"That discussion is yet to be had," Farrell said. "Regardless of who would fill out the 25-man roster, you know what, I can't sit here today and say that's an option that wouldn't be discussed. Keep in mind that we fully expect Jackie to begin the season in the Minor Leagues. So we'll see -- we'll work through the combinations that exist here in camp and, again, we haven't ruled out David either."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.