BOSTON -- Just when the Red Sox got Mitch Moreland back, they lost him again.
The first baseman was activated on Friday after being out for nearly two weeks with a lower back strain. But after going 0-for-2 in a 5-1 loss to the Rays, Moreland exited with a new injury: right quad tightness.
“The second ground ball [he hit], he felt it,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “He went out and played defense and then he came in and told me about it. Just talking to [trainer] Brad [Pearson], he doesn’t feel great. I’ll talk with him a little more when I’m done here with [president of baseball operations] Dave [Dombrowski] and see what we can do.”
To make room for Moreland on the roster, the Red Sox optioned righty swingman Ryan Weber to Triple-A Pawtucket before Friday's game.
The timing for another Moreland injury is hardly ideal. Steve Pearce is still on the injured list with a back strain. Rookie Michael Chavis is in a prolonged slump.
The Sox were also without star slugger J.D. Martinez on Friday, as he is dealing with his third bout with back spasms in the last five weeks. The hope is that Martinez can return for Saturday’s day-night doubleheader.
One thing Cora will do to try to limit Martinez’s back issues is to play him in the outfield a little less. Martinez has started 11 games in right field, five games in left and 38 at designated hitter.
“We have to be careful,” Cora said. “There are certain days we need him out there, but to play him three days in a row, I don’t think [we should]. We’ll try to stay away from it. You can’t say you’ll never do it, but you have to be careful.”
More side work for Eovaldi
The Red Sox hoped to send righty starter Nathan Eovaldi on a rehab assignment this weekend, but they will put those plans on hold for a few more days.
“He’s going to throw one more, probably a bullpen this weekend,” said Cora. “He doesn’t feel great mechanics-wise. We’ll wait and clean that up and decide what we’re going to do after that. We don’t want to rush him if he doesn’t feel right. Obviously, this is a guy who is very important for us. To throw him out there if he’s not sound mechanics-wise, it doesn’t make sense for him or us.”
Eovaldi last pitched for the Red Sox on April 17. He underwent arthroscopic surgery a few days after that to remove loose bodies in his right elbow.
• Righty reliever Tyler Thornburg, who has been sidelined for two weeks with a neck impingement, is making progress. Thornburg threw 30 pitches on Friday against teammates Sam Travis and Michael Chavis. He could be cleared for a Minor League rehab assignment soon.
• Righty Josh A. Smith, who was optioned on May 20, was back in the clubhouse on Friday and will be added as the 26th man for Saturday’s doubleheader. Smith will start Game 1, and David Price will take the ball for Game 2.