Papi has speedy recovery, returns to lineup

Papi has speedy recovery, returns to lineup

BOSTON -- For David Ortiz, day to day meant no days missed.

The Red Sox's star slugger was back in the lineup for Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Yankees despite a scary moment when he hammered a foul ball off the midpoint of his right shin in the ninth inning of Wednesday night's 9-4 loss.

Ortiz showed his leg was just fine in the first inning, as he hit a ground-rule double to right field and then raced home on Hanley Ramirez's single to center field. The double was Papi's Major League-leading 37th of the season and 63rd extra-base hit, setting a single-season record for extra-base hits by a player age 40 or older.

Big Papi exits, X-rays negative

While X-rays came back negative following Wednesday's game, there still seemed to be an expectation that Ortiz would miss a game or two.

That all changed when Ortiz placed a morning phone call to manager John Farrell.

"I called John," said Ortiz. "And I told him, 'Don't take me out of the lineup."'

It didn't take much persuading of Farrell.

"David being available to us is obviously big for our offense, our team," Farrell said. "He reached out to me probably around mid-morning to say that he was good to go for tonight, and the way he walked off the field, the way he came off the field last night, it was certainly a question, but he understands where we are in the season, in the standings, time of the year, the necessity of him being in our lineup, he's good enough."

The fact that this is Ortiz's final go-round only increases his urgency to help the Red Sox in their postseason push.

"Right now, you've got to bring to the table everything you've got," Ortiz said. "I know I'm a big person in the lineup and you guys know me, if I can go, I go. We've got 50 games. We've got to grind it out there. We've got to keep on fighting."

Right fielder Mookie Betts, who exited Wednesday's game in the eighth inning with right calf tightness, won't be available until Friday at the earliest.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.