ST. PETERSBURG -- When it comes to giving his players a day off, Red Sox manager Alex Cora plans well ahead of time and doesn't waver.The latest case in point? Sitting star slugger J.D. Martinez on Sunday after Boston had lost two in a row and five out of seven.
ST. PETERSBURG -- When it comes to giving his players a day off, Red Sox manager Alex Cora plans well ahead of time and doesn't waver.
The latest case in point? Sitting star slugger J.D. Martinez on Sunday after Boston had lost two in a row and five out of seven. Left fielder Andrew Benintendi also got a breather for the finale at Tropicana Field.
Martinez had started 124 of the Red Sox's first 131 games and 31 in a row entering Sunday.
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Was Cora tempted at all to switch his plan given that the Sox are in a rare mini-rut?
"Nope," said Cora. "I wasn't tempted after being no-hit in April. I'm not going to be tempted after we lost the series either. They need their rest. We're going to take advantage of today and tomorrow and then they'll play throughout the week and we'll see what we'll do in Atlanta, which is another window for us to give a few guys a day off."
Cora told Martinez not to show up at Tropicana until 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, an hour and a half before first pich.
"He showed up at 11:08. I was all over him," said Cora. "I was like, 'What are you doing?' He was like, 'You know, [traveling secretary] Jack [McCormick] called me. They were worried about me.' I was like, 'I wasn't worried.' It's hard for them [to disconnect], but at least one day off at the field or not being locked in on the grind is good for them."
It was mentioned to Cora that Jim Rice played 163 games in 1978. And everyone knows about Cal Ripken Jr. What has changed through the years?
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"I think if you ask those guys and they had the information that we have now, they'd be like, 'It didn't make sense playing 162,'" Cora said. "For me, I don't think I played with a lot of guys [who played in 162 games]. I mean, [Adrian] Beltre's the one that kind of played every day. I think rest is very important. We have more information about players. We track their workouts and the workload and the time of the games and all that. And we have people who are experts on that and we go with what they think and we go from there."
Cora said that the plan for lefty Eduardo Rodriguez is to go six innings in Monday night's rehab game for Double-A Portland. Rodriguez is expected to slot back into Boston's rotation next weekend in Chicago. Rodriguez severely sprained his right ankle on July 14 in a start at Fenway Park.
Steven Wright (left knee inflammation) is also on the mend. He will pitch two innings in relief for Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday.
Christian Vazquez, who will play Minor League games all week, will catch Rodriguez and Wright. Vazquez is coming back from a right pinkie fracture he suffered on July 7.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.