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Leg discomfort to sideline Nunez until Monday

September 20, 2018

NEW YORK -- The Red Sox will exercise caution with Eduardo Nunez, who has experienced discomfort in his legs twice over the past week.The latest is a left hamstring ailment that forced Nunez out of Wednesday's game against the Yankees for a pinch-runner in the top of the ninth."He's not

NEW YORK -- The Red Sox will exercise caution with Eduardo Nunez, who has experienced discomfort in his legs twice over the past week.
The latest is a left hamstring ailment that forced Nunez out of Wednesday's game against the Yankees for a pinch-runner in the top of the ninth.
"He's not playing this weekend most likely," said Cora. "I'm going to try to stay away from him, so hopefully he'll be back for the Baltimore series. [Trainer] Brad [Pearson] was talking about him last year when he came over from San Francisco that it was an issue throughout his career and he's doing a better job as far as stretching and being stronger."
Nunez suffered a PCL strain on Sept. 9, 2017. He tried to come back on Sept. 25, and immediately reinjured himself. Nunez thought he was good to go for Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Astros, but aggravated the knee running out a grounder in his first at-bat and was lost for the series.

The Red Sox are doing everything they can to make sure Nunez will be healthy for the playoffs this year.
"He knows his body, especially with hammies. He knows when to push it and when not to," said Cora. "I just talked to him today and was like, 'Let's stay away from you this weekend. I saw what happened last year, I saw it firsthand.' He doesn't need too many at-bats to keep his swing going. It's been very simple for the last month and a half, so we'll make sure he gets at-bats before everything starts and he'll be OK."
Nunez tweaked his right knee against Toronto on Sept. 13 and came out of that game early. He sat out the entire three-game series against the Mets last weekend and returned to action on Tuesday night. Nunez left for a pinch-runner in the top of the ninth on Wednesday.
In his absence, Rafael Devers started at third on Thursday and will likely play all three games this weekend in Cleveland.
Devers opened the season as Boston's starting third baseman, but he essentially lost the job to Nunez due to injuries and inconsistency.
Does Cora view Nunez as the starting third baseman entering the playoffs?
"No, I mean, he's been playing well," said Cora. "We know that. His swing is very similar to what he did last year. Obviously Raffy, his at-bats are getting better. We'll get there when we get there, but we're very comfortable with the three of them playing, honestly. Brock [Holt], he put another good at-bat yesterday. Raffy, the at-bats against [Jacob] deGrom were good. It seems like he's not chasing up in the zone, which is good."
Barnes is back
The Red Sox got a much-needed arm back in the bullpen on Thursday, as setup man Matt Barnes was cleared to return.
Barnes has been dealing with inflammation in his left hip and last pitched on Sept. 3 in Atlanta.
"He's a full go now. He's available to pitch," Cora said. "We're not going to put him in a high-leverage situation right away."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.