SEATTLE -- If you’ve paid any attention to the Red Sox over the last couple of weeks, you’ve likely been made aware of the team’s COVID woes. However, a non-COVID injury update was perhaps the biggest news on Monday as J.D. Martinez returned to the lineup against the Mariners after missing three games with back tightness.
Boston dropped two of those games to the White Sox, who led the American League Central Division by 12 games going into Monday's schedule.
“It was tough,” Martinez said during warmups. “Especially how it finished off. With all of them being one-run games, it just feels like I wasn’t in the fight with them.”
Entering Monday, Boston (81-64) was in a tie with Toronto (80-63) and was clinging to a one-game lead over the Yankees (79-64) atop the AL Wild Card standings. Seattle (77-66) was three games back.
Rather than focus on the Mariners and the importance of the current three-game series, which could alter the playoff race by Wednesday night, Martinez has his health to worry about.
“I’m just trying to keep my medic away,” he said. “That’s kind of where I’m at right now. Obviously, all these games are big games, so I've got to just kind of power through it and get out there.
“I’m dying to get out there again. Just itching to get out there.”
Martinez is batting .286/.349/.517 with 25 home runs and 89 RBIs.
“He’s feeling good,” manager Alex Cora said of Martinez pregame. “Right now, he's in the cage. So he's in the lineup.”