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Cherington expects Papi to be ready for Opening Day

Cherington expects Papi to be ready for Opening Day

BOSTON -- Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington visited David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic last week, and he expects the designated hitter to be good to go for Opening Day.

Cherington, however, indicated he wasn't sure how strong Ortiz, who recently started to run, would be at the start of an earlier-than-normal Spring Training. Ortiz was very productive in 2012, but he was limited to just 90 games because of a right Achilles tendon injury.

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"He's hitting and doing his agility and starting to run," Cherington said Monday in an interview with MLB Network Radio. "He's David Ortiz. We'll see where he is as we report 10 days from now or so and take it from there. We don't have any reason to think he won't be in our lineup on Opening Day."

Ortiz reportedly has contract language related to the Achilles.

Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was limited to just 74 games last season because of a partially dislocated right shoulder, but Cherington said Ellsbury should be ready to go right out of the gate.

"In Jacoby's case, there's no issues whatsoever," Cherington said. "He's fine [and] had a normal offseason."

With a busy offseason now almost behind him, Cherington said players and staff getting to know each other is "a major theme of our Spring Training" and that the "level of turnover I don't think is optimal, [but] it was necessary this offseason again as we try to build something."

During his radio appearance, Cherington gave more insight to Boston's catching situation, and it appears that Ryan Lavarnway, who has options, will start the season at Triple-A.

"Our expectation is that [Jarrod Saltalamacchia] and [David] Ross would be the two catchers," Cherington said. "We'll see. There's always room for someone to push. Ryan Lavarnway is a very talented young man. … He's going to have a very good Major League career. When that sort of clock starts in Boston remains to be seen."

Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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