BOSTON – All along, David Ortiz had hoped to return to the Red Sox lineup last weekend.

Now, the designated hitter isn’t sure when he’ll be ready to play.

Ortiz continues to deal with varying degrees of soreness in his right heel, so much so that he was unable to go through his workout routine Sunday before the Red Sox throttled the Cleveland Indians, 14-1.

“It hasn’t healed like we were expecting,” Ortiz said. “I had a good day the other day at Fenway. I ran and I was feeling pain, but not as bad. After that one day, I got sore again. It’s a roller coaster, bro.”

Sidelined since July 16 with a strained right Achilles, Ortiz said he realizes the injury isn’t likely to heal to the point where he’s entirely pain-free before the end of the season. He is willing to play through the discomfort, especially with the Sox needing an extended winning streak to climb back into the AL wild-card race.

But Ortiz also doesn’t want to incur an even more serious injury by tearing his Achilles, which would require surgery. Ortiz is playing on a one-year contract, and at age 36, he’s again hoping to secure a multiyear deal through free agency.

“If you go back and play sore, of course (it could tear) because it’s not just healing, it’s not ready,” Ortiz said. “And I don’t want to run that risk, either. I’m a free agent after this year, and I don’t want to have to go into surgery as a free agent. So it’s, ‘Let it heal and play when you’re ready.”‘

Mentally, Ortiz couldn’t be any more ready. He plans to test his heel before Tuesday night’s series opener against the Orioles in Baltimore.

“I was looking forward to playing (in Cleveland),” he said. “I can’t watch the game no more, man. I’m not a big fan of watching games. I like to be in it.”

 

THE RED SOX plan to activate Andrew Bailey before Tuesday’s game, according to a team source.

Acquired in a December trade with the Oakland Athletics and expected to replace closer Jonathan Papelbon, Bailey has not yet pitched for the Red Sox after undergoing right thumb surgery on the eve of Opening Day.

Manager Bobby Valentine has not yet decided what role Bailey will serve in the bullpen when he is activated, although it’s likely he initially will pitch in an eighth-inning setup role, especially with right-hander Vicente Padilla on the DL because of tightness in his right arm.

 

VALENTINE DOESN’T pretend to know what went wrong for Danny Valencia over the past two seasons in Minnesota. Clearly, though, the third baseman fell out of favor with Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire.

“There was something that they didn’t like over there,” Valentine said. “There were opportunities for him to come off the bench when we played Minnesota, and he didn’t even put a helmet on.”

Valencia finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2010 but hit just .198 this season for the Twins.

Given a lack of third-base depth that was exposed last month when Will Middlebrooks strained his hamstring, the Red Sox acquired Valencia on Aug. 5 for minor-league outfielder Jeremias Pineda, a move that turned out to be fortuitous after Middlebrooks fractured his right wrist Friday night.

Valencia was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket, and after entering as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning Saturday night, he made his first Red Sox start Sunday and went 0 for 4 with a sacrifice fly.

“What happened to Will is unfortunate,” Valencia said. “He was having a great season, and for that to happen stinks. I feel bad for him. I just want to come in and help the team win no matter what I can do, whether it be off the bench or starting. It’s just nice to be back playing with a team playing for the playoffs.”