Sore heel doesn't keep Papi from playing

Sore heel doesn't keep Papi from playing

Sore heel doesn't keep Papi from playing
BOSTON -- David Ortiz was back in the starting lineup on Saturday against Cleveland after leaving Friday's game early with soreness in his left heel.

Ortiz exited the contest in the seventh inning when his spot in the batting order came up. He'd bruised the heel while legging out an infield single in the fifth inning.

"Just running down the line, I took a hard step right when I got to the bag, and my heel got sore," Ortiz said. "It wasn't sore before. I just felt it then."

Ortiz has not missed a start in 33 games this season, and he leads the Red Sox with seven home runs and 23 RBIs. He iced the heel after Friday's game.

"I'm OK. It's still a little sore, but I'll try [tonight]," he said.

Manager Bobby Valentine said that Ortiz's health will be closely monitored going forward.

"We have an understanding [that] if he feels anything, if he feels like maybe he should not be swinging, even if it's in the middle of an at-bat, he'll let us know," Valentine said. "But he says he's OK to go, and the training room thinks he's OK to go."

In other injury news, third baseman Kevin Youkilis continues to progress from a strained lower back, and he played catch from 90 feet before Saturday's game.

"He's on the proper schedule, no setbacks," Valentine said. "There is a plan in action."

Youkilis is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list on Monday, when Boston opens a two-game series against Seattle. Youkilis, who has not played since April 28, was batting .219 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 18 games before the injury.