Mookie Betts (foot) to sit Sunday
PHILADELPHIA -- Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts was scratched from Saturday's lineup against the Phillies due to a sore left foot, and he is also expected to miss Sunday's finale at Citizens Bank Park. Boston has an off-day Monday before opening a series at Fenway Park against the Giants on Tuesday.
“He's day to day," Cora said after Saturday's 2-1 win in Philadelphia. "We’ll stay away from him tomorrow too, so he can benefit from tomorrow and Monday. The hope is that he’ll be back on Tuesday.”
Betts initially felt the pain Thursday after playing on the Rogers Centre turf in Toronto. He visited with the doctor on Saturday afternoon, though he did not undergo any X-rays or an MRI.
“I really don’t know how it happened, I don’t remember diving or anything," Betts said. "Just sore for a couple days. It is what it is. Just give it a little time and see what happens.”
J.D. Martinez started in Betts' place in right field, while Gorkys Hernández took over in left. Cora also planned to have Brock Holt in the original lineup, but decided against it with Holt feeling "under the weather." Holt entered the game in the ninth as a pinch-hitter and worked a walk, before Andrew Benintendi hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly.
Cora indicated that the team’s position in the standings -- Boston entered the day 10 games back of the final American League Wild Card spot -- factored into the decision to hold out Betts and Holt.
"I think so," Cora said when asked if the duo would be playing if the game had more significant postseason implications. "They both were like, ‘Hey, we’re good,’ but I’ll take [the decision] away from them."
Betts had been on a tear lately, hitting .412/.466/.863 over the last 12 games, dating to his two-homer game in Boston's 15-inning victory over the Angels on Aug. 30. The reigning AL Most Valuable Player was 21-for-51 with nine extra-base hits, including seven homers, in those dozen contests.
Betts' recent surge raised his season average to .293, to go along with 28 homers, a .918 OPS and a Major League-leading 131 runs.
"Regardless if he’s hitting .335 or .290, he dominates the game from the leadoff spot," Cora said. "He has  runs -- that’s what you do as a leadoff guy."
Price's status up in the air
Left-hander David Price played catch prior to Saturday's game at Citizens Bank Park, but it remains unclear whether he'll make another start in 2019. Price has thrown just two innings since Aug. 5 due to a left wrist issue.
"He’s feeling OK," Cora said. "We thought that he was going to get closer to where we want to. He’s making strides, but still not fast."
Price, who turned 34 years old last month, has three years remaining on his seven-year, $217 million deal. After playing a pivotal role in last year's World Series run, Price put up a 2.70 ERA through his first 11 starts this season before hitting some bumps in the road.
He's still hoping to pitch at least once more over the final two weeks of the season, though Cora said that will depend entirely on the progress the lefty makes in the coming days.
"That’s the goal, obviously," Cora said of getting Price another start. "But if he’s not there, he’s not there. I’ve been saying all along, he’s important for us this year, but also he’s very important for the upcoming years. We’re not going to push him."
Cora was far more optimistic about right-hander Heath Hembree, who has not pitched since Aug. 1 due to right elbow inflammation. Hembree threw a bullpen session on Saturday, and he is expected to pitch a simulated game Tuesday in Boston.
"If he jumps past that hurdle, most likely he’ll be active toward the end of the week," Cora said.