Papi confirms he'll miss All-Star Game
Slugger will attend event, hopes to hit soft tosses this week
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Holding a lead of nearly a million votes over Hideki Matsui in the American League's All-Star balloting, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said Monday that he will represent his team, his sport and his fans during the festivities at Yankee Stadium on July 14-15.
That said, Big Papi confirmed that someone else is going to have to start for the American League at designated hitter.
Ortiz hasn't played since May 31 because of a partial tear of the tendon sheath in his left wrist. He has been swinging off the tee, but hasn't progressed to flips or batting practice.
"I'm going to go to the All-Star Game. I'm not going to be able to play," Ortiz said. "But I've got to bring myself out there and show respect for the fans. There's a reason why they vote for you, and you've got to be able to respect that. I wish I could be in the Dominican, at the beach."
But one thing Ortiz has never taken lightly is giving back to the fans. That type of mentality perhaps explains why Ortiz has been one of the most beloved figures in the game the past few years.
"You work your way to do the right thing in the game and try hard, and I guess the fans appreciate it," said Ortiz.
Ortiz is hopeful that he will be able to hit against soft tosses by the end of this week.
"I'm feeling better every day. I still have a ways to work," said Ortiz. "Right now, I'm hitting off the tee. I have no idea what it's going to feel like in the future. We'll see. It's feeling better. Every time, it feels better. I still have a ways to go. There's still some pain, still have some weakness."
In a best-case scenario, Ortiz will be getting close to a rehab assignment around the All-Star break.
"It's hard to know exactly, but that's probably when he's going to start feeling hopefully like he can play," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "When we get towards that break, maybe we can start to turn him loose a little bit. Again, maybe he won't be ready. But that's kind of how we're looking at it. Three- and four-day segments of a particular drill and then picking up the volume. He'll be evaluated every day, and if it's going good, we'll continue and if we need to pull back, we'll pull back."
Ortiz is confident he won't need surgery.
"I'm not going to lie to you. I don't think I will [need surgery], hopefully I won't have to," said Ortiz. "That's one thing I don't think about, because I have made some progress from the time I got hurt and what I'm doing right now. I'm not going to tell you when I'm going to be 100 percent, because that's something that I don't know. The human body healing process is something that you can't control. You can work things to get to that point, but there's nothing that can tell you you're going to be fine."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.