DETROIT -- Don't underestimate Big Papi's Big Pain. David Ortiz's right knee is hurting. Bad.
Like, he might have to miss more time this season than usual.
"I think so," he said Thursday. "Probably."
|The Red Sox don't want to, but just might have to put David Ortiz on the shelf. (AP)|
"It's killing me," he said before the game.
Boston's designated hitter and all-around good guy hasn't played in fewer than 149 games since 2003, his debut season in the Hub and the summer he emerged into Big Papi after earlier being simply just a guy the Sox claimed off waivers from Minnesota.
The 149 came last year, when he battled a sore right knee that required surgery following Boston's World Series win.
Though he wasn't completely back to 100 percent this spring, Ortiz seemed well on his way. But, "the doctor said it will take some time because I'm a big man," Boston's Big Man said.
It's a delicate balance for Boston manager Terry Francona, because things obviously are better for the Sox with Ortiz in the daily lineup -- though if that leads to time on the shelf, then it's a price that could sting the Red Sox in the long run.
How often does Francona check with Ortiz on his knee?
"Every couple of hours," the Boston skipper quipped.
Seriously, the two have developed a little-noticed routine that actually is played out partly in public after each Red Sox victory.
"When we're shaking hands, we always have a brief conversation about the next day," Francona said. "If the conversation needs to go further, it will."