Papi making progress; Farrell contemplating DH

Papi making progress; Farrell contemplating DH

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz might be taking small steps, but they appear to be positive ones.

On Thursday, Ortiz swung in the batting cage for the third straight day and also participated in some other activities.

"We're going to continue to work off of him each and every day," said manager John Farrell. "They'll be some more strength training and that type of thing that's part inside today. So far, so good."

It was nearly two weeks ago that Ortiz had an MRI that revealed inflammation in both heels, and he hasn't been cleared to run since then.

Until Ortiz starts running, it will be hard to gauge when he can return to action.

In the meantime, Farrell continues to contemplate designated hitter options for the start of the season. The loss of Ortiz also plays a role in how the Red sox construct their bench to start the season.

"[We need to decide] what the best combination is," Farrell said, "and then looking at other alignments with the guys who are already projected [to make the team]. Does that free up some at-bats for [Jarrod Saltalamacchia] to be the DH? Does that put Jonny [Gomes] into that DH slot a little more regularly? Those are things that we're still all working through, contemplating and seeing where the best fits exist."

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Evan Drellich is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.