Outlook: Drew looks to rebound from underwhelming '12

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The fact that Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew was back on the field Thursday doing drills and in the cage taking swings was a sign that his consultation with a concussion specialist at the University of Pittsburgh went well.

"The recommendation for him was to initiate baseball activities, so he'll go through stretch," said manager John Farrell. "He'll go through the throwing program. We expect him to swing in the cage today. I think more than anything, Stephen comes away with some renewed confidence based on the findings from Dr. Collins."

However, Drew is still experiencing mild symptoms, so there is no timeframe for when he could return to action.

Even if things progressed perfectly from this point forward, there probably still wouldn't be enough time for Drew to get ready for Opening Day. The concussion occurred on March 7, meaning Drew hasn't played in a game in two weeks.

"We'll probably have a better sense of that by the end of the weekend, but we're starting to fight the calendar a little bit," said general manager Ben Cherington. "We don't want him to be in a position where he's having to rush getting at-bats just to make it to a certain day. It's generally good news. He seems to be headed in the right direction."

Concussions remain one of the hardest injuries to project in terms of recovery.

"There's certainly an element of unknown with this type of thing," Cherington said. "From the day it happened, we've felt like it was something that he was going to get past. But there's less blueprint on this type of thing. We have to take it a day at a time, and as long as he's still feeling anything, we're going to be cautious, and we'll continue to be cautious."

Papi making progress; Farrell contemplating DH

Outlook: Papi has injury concerns for 2013 season

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz might be taking small steps, but they appear to be positive ones.

On Thursday, Ortiz swung in the batting cage for the third straight day and also participated in some other activities.

"We're going to continue to work off of him each and every day," said manager John Farrell. "They'll be some more strength training and that type of thing that's part inside today. So far, so good."

It was nearly two weeks ago that Ortiz had an MRI that revealed inflammation in both heels, and he hasn't been cleared to run since then.

Until Ortiz starts running, it will be hard to gauge when he can return to action.

In the meantime, Farrell continues to contemplate designated hitter options for the start of the season. The loss of Ortiz also plays a role in how the Red sox construct their bench to start the season.

"[We need to decide] what the best combination is," Farrell said, "and then looking at other alignments with the guys who are already projected [to make the team]. Does that free up some at-bats for [Jarrod Saltalamacchia] to be the DH? Does that put Jonny [Gomes] into that DH slot a little more regularly? Those are things that we're still all working through, contemplating and seeing where the best fits exist."

Victorino catches up with former teammates

Outlook: Victorino's value should improve in 2013

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The real homecoming for Shane Victorino comes May 29-30 when the Red Sox visit Citizens Bank Park for a two-game series. The Phils' trip to Boston's spring home on Thursday -- and Boston's subsequent trip to Clearwater on Sunday -- are just warm-ups.

Victorino, who on Thursday faced the Phillies for the first time since he was traded last year, said he's looking forward to both the spring and regular-season trip to his old stomping grounds.

"Yeah, absolutely," Victorino said. "Of course I am. Of course I'm excited to go back, but you know, again, I think ultimately it'll happen in May, when we come back [to Citizens Bank]. It's going to be nice for me. Will it be tough? Yeah, you know, all the memories. But again, it was good times. And that's how I look at it. ... It didn't end bad. It was just one of those things the opportunity presented itself for a trade to happen."

This isn't about revenge, though. Victorino played 987 games for the Phillies in eight seasons, and he doesn't have any grudges about being traded to the Dodgers -- or the fact that neither the Phillies nor the Dodgers brought him back when he was a free agent this winter.

"Obviously that was a choice," Victorino said of re-signing in Philly. "I feel like I kept that choice open, and it never worked. Obviously they went in a different direction. Hey, it's a part of the game. I understand it's a business. So again, I'm a Red Sox and I'm happy to be one.

"People said the same thing about L.A., when I didn't get my opportunity there. 'What was it?' … I said, 'I don't care. I just want to play the game.'

Victorino said he still follows the Phillies from afar. He caught up with former teammate Jimmy Rollins while they were with Team USA during the World Baseball Classic, and Victorino also recently exchanged text messages with Ryan Howard.

"I'm going to definitely pay attention to them and wish them the best of luck in the National League," said Victorino.