Red Sox Need Ortiz for Long Term

Red Sox Need Ortiz for Long Term

David Ortiz is in a walking boot, but it’s the Red Sox offense that is limping along without him.

With bursitis in his right heel keeping Ortiz out of his customary fifth spot in the batting order for a Fenway Park pit stop against the Tampa Bay Rays, a Red Sox lineup that has relied on its top five all season was shallower than an episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians."

The Sox scored just five runs during the three-game set and were shut out yesterday. For the first time in franchise history the team was held to three hits or fewer in three consecutive home games.

Thanks to the anemic offensive output, the Red Sox ceded the major league lead in runs scored to the Yankees. The Bronx Bombers have scored 652 runs to the Sox’ 649.

With his contract drive in full swing, a wear-and-tear injury like the heel -- estimated to keep Ortiz out about a week -- would seem to buttress the case that the 35-year-old designated hitter is not a wise investment beyond this season. But his absence is actually making the opposite argument — that Ortiz is an essential piece for the Sox beyond 2011.

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