BOSTON - The Red Sox hung on for a win at Fenway Park Sunday, but much of the talk before and after the 8-6 victory over the Royals centered around David Ortiz and the likelihood the slugger will return to the disabled list Monday and could be shut down for the season.
That, in turn, could mean the DH has played his final game with the Red Sox.
Ortiz, who returned Friday night after missing 35 games with an Achilles strain but then missed both games over the weekend, will find out Monday when, and if, he can return to the lineup. If he's done for the season, as manager Bobby Valentine indicated before the game, the potential free agent may have ended his distinguished Red Sox career.
He says he wants to stay in Boston but has been upset with management over its unwillingness to give him more than a one-year contract.
Before Sunday's win, the club's 14th in 37 games without Ortiz in the lineup, Valentine said it didn't look good for Ortiz playing again in 2012.
"We're probably there. We're just going to give it a couple of days to see," he said. "... We're definitely not going to do anything to jeopardize David's career. David totally wants to do everything he can to be part of this team this year and in the future. So that's what we're dealing with."
After the game, Valentine, ejected in the fifth inning by first base umpire Dan Bellino after Bellino blew a call on Dustin Pedroia, said, "I don't have further word. I discussed with Ben (general manager Cherington) some of the possibilities, and I haven't talked to David yet, but tomorrow we'll probably figure out where we're going with that.
"It's likely that if he doesn't have a real miraculous recovery tonight, we'll have a DL situation tomorrow."
Asked if there's a chance Ortiz could return from his second stay on the disabled list, Valentine said, "He might be able to come back. I'm not sure what the treatment will be and I'm not sure about any recovery process. I know David wants to be with this team and he wants to continue what he's done all year, and that's been a major contributor."
Ortiz, who reported "no update" after the game, is hitting .318 with 23 homers, 60 RBIs and a 1.026 OPS. Obviously, his absence, coupled with Adrian Gonzalez being traded, severely weakens the Boston lineup.
Valentine wasn't around to see his two newest players help his team to Sunday's win.
First baseman James Loney, the lone major leaguer acquired from the Dodgers in the weekend's mega-deal, singled home the tying run in the fifth inning. Reliever Pedro Beato worked two-plus innings of relief for the win as the in-flux Sox avoided dropping to a season-worst eight games under .500.
Loney, 1-for-5 in his debut after the flight across the country, hit into a double play with runners at first and third and one out in the first inning and grounded out in the third before coming through with two out in the fifth. Jacoby Ellsbury's RBI single in the sixth put Boston ahead to stay.
Beato, acquired in the deal that sent Kelly Shoppach to the Mets earlier this month, relieved starter Felix Doubront (five innings in his first start off the disabled list) and worked two scoreless innings before two singles and a walk loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth.
Craig Breslow relieved and got a strikeout and a sacrifice fly (Cody Ross lost the ball in the sun but made an acrobatic catch) before Tony Abreu singled home a run. Breslow then fought back from a 3-0 count and caught Lorenzo Cain looking to end the inning. Pedroia led off the bottom of the frame with his 12th homer of the season.
Mark Melancon, who failed in an early-season shot at the closer role, pitched the ninth for his first American League save.
Ellsbury's two-out hit delivered an unearned run, after shortstop Alcides Escobar made an error. Escobar made another one, with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh, for another run. Pedro Ciriaco (three hits, including a home run, 17-for-35 over the last six games) then beat out an infield hit for a third unearned run.
"I feel really bad right now; two errors in one game is bad for me," said Escobar.
Ciriaco homered off KC starter and loser Will Smith (4-6), and Cain ripped a three-run shot (No. 5) off Doubront in a four-run fourth that gave the Royals a 4-2 lead.
NOTES: KC All-Star Billy Butler struck out four times and had a single. ... The ejection was Valentine's fifth of the season, the 42nd of his managerial career. ... Loney flew across the country to Saturday night and will fly back to California with his new team after Monday's series finale with the Royals; the Sox heading to Anaheim after the game. He got an ovation his first time up and said, later, "It's one of the best atmospheres in baseball." He also said, "I'm glad I'm here." ... The returning Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has made only five starts this season, pitches for Boston on Monday, and Luke Hochevar will start for the Royals. ... The Sox played the second of three games without suspended (by the team) closer Alfredo Aceves, which led to the call to Pawtucket for Beato. ... Loney and Beato become Boston's 51st and 52nd players in 2012. ... KC third baseman Mike Moustakas, who snapped an 0-for-18 slump with a game-tying two-run triple in the seventh inning Saturday night, was rested Sunday. ... Saturday night's 10-9 loss dropped the Red Sox to 0-26 this season when allowing seven or more runs in a game. ... Sunday was Maine Day at Fenway. ... The Red Sox returned outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin to Pawtucket after a one-day stay.