Injured Red Sox DH Ortiz Says Heels Are Improving

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NEW YORK (AP) - Boston designated hitter David Ortiz says his injured heels are feeling better than they have in a long time and he hopes to play in minor league or extended spring training games next week.

Ortiz is on the 15-day disabled list, but he was in New York with the Red Sox on Monday for opening day against the Yankees. He is set to go back to the club's complex in Fort Myers, Fla., to continue his rehabilitation Thursday.

Ortiz has been sidelined nearly all spring with heel inflammation after missing much of the second half of last season with a right Achilles tendon injury. He says missing opening day is a little weird.

Boston will be fielding an opening-day lineup without Ortiz at designated hitter for the first time since 2004.