FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After more than a week of down time, David Ortiz grabbed his bat again, taking 50 swings in the cage Tuesday.
Though it is still a minor progression in his return from a right Achilles heel injury, the fact that Ortiz felt well enough to swing again was a good sign.
"We'll see how he comes out of it tomorrow when he reports in," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.
When Spring Training started, Ortiz had been taking batting practice just about every day. After an MRI revealed some inflammation in both heels on March 10, Ortiz stopped all baseball activities.
The slugger will start the season on the 15-day disabled list and there's no way to gauge when he might be activated until he resumes running again.
Dempster takes away positives from fifth start
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Ryan Dempster had to work out of a little traffic in the top of the third inning in Tuesday's start against the Orioles, but the righty considered that a positive.
Battling out of jams is something that can't be simulated. Dempster allowed three runs in that third, the only three he allowed over an otherwise solid five-inning effort during Boston's 8-7 loss.
"Yeah, it's always good for your body and your arm to get some extension, to get some pitches logged in an inning and see how you bounce back from that," said Dempster. "That's going to happen during the year. You're not going to go out there every inning and go 1-2-3 and throw 10 pitches. Those opportunities where you can do that are more beneficial physically than mentally."
A consummate professional, Dempster has blended in nicely during camp.
"I got extended again," Dempster said. "Made a couple mistakes ahead in the count. Yeah, I'm feeling better and better. I felt stronger today. You keep pushing yourself. Next time out, you go a little further. Things are coming together pretty nicely."
Bard 'a tick off' against the Orioles
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When Daniel Bard is truly back, he will get on the mound and be locked in from the first pitch. If the right-hander isn't, he will make the adjustment within a couple of pitches.
The righty reliever isn't there quite yet, and that was evident Tuesday during an 8-7 loss, when he gave up two hits and three runs while walking a batter in an inning of work against the Orioles.
"I could have been out of the inning with a little bit better luck. My mechanics were just a tick off," said Bard, who hadn't allowed a run in his first five Grapefruit League appearances. "My misses were pretty much all in the same spot. If you go back and look, I was up and arm side with a lot of my pitches and didn't make a good adjustment until the last three pitches of the inning."
In this spring of trying to regain his feel after last year's misstep, such bumps in the road are probably natural, but Bard knows it's on him to fix things in quicker fashion once the games start for real.
"I just wish I would have done it a little sooner, but it's always a good sign when things maybe don't start out great but they get better and not worse," Bard said. "I think I did that today. It was just a little too late. I was off from the beginning."
The Red Sox have less than two weeks to go before Opening Day. Bard will get some more chances to secure a roster spot. If not, he has Minor League options left.
"The one thing that we have seen is that first hitter takes him two or three pitches to get in the flow of the inning," said manager John Farrell. "Today, he fell behind 2-0 prior to the double to [Manny] Machado."
Bogaerts will spend more time in big league camp
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Xander Bogaerts, who is ranked the Red Sox's top prospect by MLB.com, was en route back to camp on Tuesday, a day after his Netherlands squad was eliminated in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.
Boston manager John Farrell confirmed that Bogaerts will spend some more time in big league camp before his eventual assignment to the Minors.
"He'll get some reps at short, and possibly third base," said Farrell. "Make no mistake, he's still in our eyes a shortstop and we'll get him a few more at-bats here before he begins his regular season."
With the Netherlands advancing further than expected, Bogaerts got a pretty good taste of playing in big games.
"I think the experience he had with the WBC ... is all positive," Farrell said. "Would we have liked more at-bats? Sure. I think the fact that he played in that environment and on that stage outweighs maybe a few less at-bats he might have otherwise had here. All that being said, we're happy for the experience he went through."