Ortiz had originally been scheduled to miss Friday's matinee against the Orioles. But when it was postponed to Saturday afternoon, he missed that game instead.
"Yes, he's returning from a family commitment that's been scheduled for quite some time in the Dominican," said Farrell. "He was going to miss [Friday's] game. It just happens it turns into the first game today. We fully expect him to be in the lineup here tonight."
Ortiz returned for Game 2, batting cleanup as the designated hitter.
With Ortiz out of the mix in Game 1, A.J. Pierzynski served as the DH, with David Ross catching Jon Lester as he almost always does.
Mookie Betts, after playing four straight games since his callup, was out of the lineup for Game 1. Farrell went with an outfield of Daniel Nava, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.