Ortiz not accustomed to missing openers

Ortiz not accustomed to missing openers

NEW YORK -- Just as the Yankees opened the season without Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson, the Red Sox were without a signature player for the rivalry's first matchup of 2013.

This was the first time since 2003 that David Ortiz was not in Boston's starting lineup on Opening Day.

Still recovering from a right Achilles injury, Ortiz has known for a few weeks that he wouldn't be starting the season on time.

But it still felt a little strange to him to be in the clubhouse on Monday morning, watching all of his teammates get ready to take their first steps of 2013.

"A little weird, but it is what it is, right?" Ortiz said. "Opening Day's the one time that you want to be good to go and be ready for the season, definitely. Not being able to, it's just a weird feeling."

The good news is that Ortiz continues to make progress and hopes to start playing in Minor League games fairly soon. Ortiz plans on flying back to Fort Myers, Fla., on Thursday.

Could Ortiz start playing in Minor League games by next week?

"That's our goal right now," said Ortiz.

Shortstop Stephen Drew is Boston's other position player starting the season on the disabled list, but he is also nearing a return to some form of game action. Drew suffered a concussion on March 7 after being hit on the helmet by a pitch.

"There are a couple of steps to that paperwork," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Once its filed, it's got to be cleared through MLB, then it's got to ultimately be cleared through the Players Association. It's in the midst of that. Once that is cleared, Stephen will be back in a game and taking live [at-bats]."

Drew is on the seven-day disabled list, retroactive to last Tuesday, so the Red Sox can activate him as early as Wednesday, though he obviously won't be ready that soon.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.