"[General manager] Ben [Cherington] mentioned that to me the other day. I'm not sure that that's the official word yet," said manager Bobby Valentine.
According to Valentine, Cherington told him, "Well, prepare just in case he's not going to come back."
The star slugger has played just one game since July 16, the night he strained his right Achilles.
With the Red Sox out of realistic contention for a postseason spot, there doesn't seem to be much point in having Ortiz risk further injury.
Ortiz is again a free agent this winter, but the Red Sox would like to have him back.
"It's not really my call," Valentine said. "I mean, if he's healthy and he loves to play the game of baseball, he could always go out there and bat it around a little. I'd hate to jeopardize his career, that's for sure."
Ortiz returned from the disabled list on Aug. 24, and hit a single and a double that night against the Royals. But he felt discomfort running and was again shut down the next day.
While the Red Sox were on the West Coast, Ortiz had a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection.
"He's feeling good," Valentine said. "He's going to come up and work with [physical therapist] Mike [Reinold] here soon, but I haven't heard anything about any baseball activities that are planned."