Papi terrifying Triple-A, takes a day off

Ortiz takes a day off from rehab outing

ANAHEIM -- And on the fourth day, David Ortiz took a rest. But not until Big Papi made his presence felt in the first three games of his Minor League rehab assignment, belting a home run in each contest for Triple-A Pawtucket.

The left-handed slugger took Sunday off, and will resume action with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs on Monday night.

Ortiz will play three games for Portland and is all but certain to move back into the Red Sox's lineup for Friday night's Fenway opener of a three-game series against the Yankees.

"He elected to not play today, which we kind of told him early on, I thought that's how it would work," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "In the excitement of being there, he said, 'I want to play.' But this is probably the best thing for him. He swung the bat good."

Though you can only read so much into Ortiz going deep against Triple-A pitching, Francona noted how it certainly beat the alternative.

"I'd rather it be that, than the report being that he didn't catch up to an 86-mph fastball because his wrist hurt," Francona said. "It's probably good for his confidence but I don't know that that enters into it. He could be 0-for-20, and if he says he's ready to play, as long as he's healthy [he'll play]."

Not surprisingly, Ortiz treated the Minor Leaguers well during his stay in Pawtucket.

"Just like he would be up here," said right-hander Justin Masterson, who was promoted to the Red Sox on Sunday. "He's just hanging out, having a good time, smiling and laughing. Making sure everyone is enjoying themselves."

Ortiz also kept an unspoken tradition alive, springing for a nice clubhouse food spread.

"He did, every day," Masterson said. "One day it was a Latin spread, we had some goat and some chicken and some rice."

But far more meaningful to Masterson and the Red Sox is the way Ortiz seemed to be feasting on the baseball.

"It was great," Masterson said. "Just seeing how comfortable he was at the plate his first at-bat, he was like, 'OK, get in there.' Then the next at-bat, home run. And even the next day, going to the opposite field for a home run with minimal effort. He looks like he's really getting locked in. I know he's excited to get back up there and I know a bunch of the guys are excited to have him around."

Ortiz last played for the Red Sox on May 31, the night he suffered a partial tear of the tendon sheath in his left wrist.

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.