Ortiz runs all over the place in return to lineup

Ortiz runs all over the place in return to lineup

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."

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.