PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- When it comes to running the bases, David Ortiz never will be confused with Rickey Henderson, but the fact Ortiz was able to run the bases sans pain was the best news the Red Sox could expect in his first rehab game with the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Ironically, it may have overshadowed his performance at the plate, even though he was 2-for-3 with one run scored and one RBI in Pawtucket's 5-4 victory against the Rochester Red Wings on Thursday night.
Ortiz, of course, has been sidelined since Aug. 24 with a right Achilles' tendon injury.
"I feel fine," Ortiz said. "That's the important thing, to be able to run around the bases and be able to move around and be able to do that with freedom, without hesitation."
What Ortiz referred to was underscored in the fifth inning, when he went from first to third on an RBI double by Mark Hamilton which proved to be a key hit in Pawtucket's victory.
"The couple of days I played in Florida went well," Ortiz said. "Basically, there wasn't any hesitation when I was running the bases. I felt all right tonight. I got to see some action on the bases, and it was some run."
In Ortiz's first at-bat, right-hander Kyle Gibson (Minnesota's No 1 pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft) got ahead 0-2 on fastballs and then missed the zone on his next two pitches. But Gibson induced Ortiz to wave at a third-strike, an offspeed pitch.
Ortiz next stepped to the plate with two outs in the third, after Jose Iglesias hit a two-run homer, and lined a first-pitch single to center.
While Ortiz didn't scald the ball in the fifth, he did hit a bouncer up the middle for an RBI single and eventually scored from third base on a Drew Sutton single.
Before the game, Ortiz expressed concerned about the level of pitching he'll face at the Triple-A level as opposed to what he saw in extended spring training.
"That's another thing I'm concerned about," Ortiz said. "That's why we have a long Spring Training, to make sure you get ready to play in a Major League baseball game.
"That's another area that I want to make sure I cover some ground, but I want to make sure my foot is doing well. Then I want to be able to go back and help the ballclub."
Ortiz was scheduled to play the full game, but he was removed from the lineup after the sixth inning due in part to the cold weather.
"It was getting cold out there and I was getting a little sore, but it was a good sore," he said. "I ran a lot today, and because I'm going to play a lot of games here, I didn't want to take any chances. Now I'll get ready for tomorrow."
Ortiz is scheduled to get between 25 and 30 at-bats during Pawtucket's homestand, which commenced Thursday and ends on April 18.