MESA, Ariz. -- Reigning World Series MVP Steve Pearce will begin the 2019 season on the injured list.
On Monday night, Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced that Pearce (left calf injury) will not be ready by Opening Day on Thursday in Seattle. The first baseman will return to the team complex in Fort Myers, Fla., following Boston’s second exhibition game against the Cubs on Tuesday.
“We should do it, we have to do it that way,” Cora said. “It makes sense for us, makes sense for him. He should be back sooner rather than later, but he won’t be ready for Seattle, so why take a chance?”
Last season, Pearce batted .279/.394/.507 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs in 50 games for the Red Sox after being traded from the Blue Jays on June 28. He then went on to play a big role in Boston winning the World Series championship, as he went 4-for-12 with three home runs and eight RBIs in the Fall Classic.
Pearce went 3-for-17 with two homers and four RBIs in seven Grapefruit League games, but he didn’t play after sustaining the left calf injury on March 17.
“It’s only Opening Day,” Cora said. “I know it sucks for him, he wants to be there, but we’ve got bigger goals than Opening Day.”
After Pearce returns to Fort Myers, he will get at-bats and continue his running progression as he works his way back.
With Pearce out, first baseman Sam Travis will be on the Red Sox’s Opening Day roster. Travis batted .222/.263/.389 with a home run and seven RBIs in 19 games in 2018. During this year’s Grapefruit League campaign, he hit .211/.302/.237 with two RBIs in 22 games.
“He’s been swinging the bat well, he plays first, he’s a right-handed hitter,” Cora said. “It seems like there’s a lot of lefties on the West Coast, so having a right-handed bat could help us out.”