TORONTO -- The Boston Red Sox are not sure what to expect from their most dangerous hitter, David Ortiz, when they take on the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game series starting on Friday at Tropicana Field.
Ortiz, who hit four homers in the first three games of a four-game series against the Blue Jays, had to leave the series finale Thursday in the with back spasms.
He could not finish his at-bat in the ninth inning of an 8-0 loss to the Blue Jays. After checking his swing on a ball, he left in some discomfort and outfielder Jonny Gomes took over the at-bat and hit a game-ending fly ball.
"In that final check swing, he felt some spasm in the upper-mid back, we're still examining him right now, and it's right now day-to-day," manager John Farrell said.
Ortiz said he felt a "pop or something" in his upper back on his final at-bat in Wednesday's 6-4 loss to the Blue Jays. It had cleared up and he was able to play on Thursday.
"I made like a rough move on that pitch, like tried to go and stop," Ortiz said. "It pulled me a little bit more today. Hopefully it's not anything serious. We'll see how it feels tomorrow."
He did not know if he would require further time off. Friday is the anticipated rematch with Rays left-hander David Price, who hit two Red Sox, including Ortiz, on May 30 that started a bench-clearing incident. Price said he did not like the way Ortiz admired a home run in last year's playoffs.
Ortiz could not say whether he will be able to face Price on Friday.
"I don't know," Ortiz said. "We haven't talked about it yet. ... Pretty sure I can probably come in and see how it goes. But hopefully it's nothing serious."
STREAK: Lost three
NEXT: Red Sox (LHP Jon Lester, 10-7, 2.50 ERA) at Rays (LHP David Price, 10-7, 3.06 ERA)
--LHP Jon Lester will start the opening game of a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on Friday. Lester is 2-0 with a 0.70 ERA over his past five starts, including eight shutout innings in a win over the Royals last Sunday. He struck out 12 over seven shutout innings in his only appearance against the Rays this season, a 4-0 win on June 1. He is 13-9 with a 4.12 ERA in 27 career starts against Tampa Bay.
--DH David Ortiz hit a three-run homer in the first inning on Wednesday to reach 1,501 RBIs in his 2,067th game. He became the 14th fastest player to reach 1,500 RBIs and is the only active left-handed hitter to reach that plateau. Ortiz was 0-for-3 in the 8-0 loss to Toronto on Thursday before leaving the game in the ninth after hurting his back on a checked swing. He was being examined and was listed as day-to-day.
--OF Shane Victorino had the only Red Sox hit, a bloop single to lead off the seventh against RHP Marcus Stroman on Thursday, to extend his hit streak to five games since returning from the disabled list. By going 1-for-3 with a walk, he is 8-for-19 (.421) over the five games.
--SS Stephen Drew walked in the eighth inning of the 8-0 loss to the Blue Jays. He has reached base in 10 straight games in which he has had a plate appearance. He has walked at least once in nine of those games for a total of 10 walks.
--RHP Rubby De La Rosa had his shortest start since July 31, 2011, when he went four-plus innings in allowing a career-high seven runs (six earned) in an 8-0 loss to the Blue Jays on Thursday. He also went four innings in the start three years ago against Arizona.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I thought he had a hard time neutralizing their left-handed hitters. -- Red Sox manager John Farrell said of RHP Rubby De La Rosa after an 8-0 loss to Toronto on Thursday.
--DH David Ortiz (back spasms) left the July 24 game after checking a swing in the ninth inning. He is day-to-day.
--3B Will Middlebrooks (broken right index finger) went on the 15-day disabled list May 17. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on June 14. The Red Sox shut him down from all baseball activities June 27 due to persistent swelling that negatively impacted his throwing. He resumed his rehab with Pawtucket on July 1. He was shut down again July 12-17 due to a left wrist strain, then started a new rehab assignment with Pawtucket on July 18.
--C Ryan Lavarnway (left hamate wrist fracture) went on the 15-day disabled list May 30, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 5. He underwent surgery June 3. He began a rehab assignment in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League on July 18, then moved his rehab to Double-A Portland on July 21.
LHP Jon Lester
RHP John Lackey
RHP Jake Peavy
RHP Rubby De La Rosa
RHP Clay Buchholz
RHP Koji Uehara (closer)
RHP Junichi Tazawa
RHP Edward Mujica
LHP Craig Breslow
LHP Andrew Miller
RHP Burke Badenhop
LHP Felix Doubront
1B Mike Napoli
2B Dustin Pedroia
SS Stephen Drew
3B Brock Holt
DH David Ortiz
INF/OF Mike Carp
INF Xander Bogaerts
LF Jonny Gomes
CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
RF Shane Victorino
OF Daniel Nava
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- David Price
- Jon Lester