WASHINGTON – Boston Red Sox slugger JD Martinez isn’t that used to playing defense. After all, he’s usually the designated hitter. Maybe that’s why he got into trouble by hitting a base on his way to the outfield on Sunday.
It is unknown if Martinez will be ready for Tuesday’s American League wild card game against the visiting New York Yankees after spraining his left ankle and having to give up a 7-5 win over the Washington Nationals on Sunday at closing of the regular season.
Because the National League doesn’t use a designated hitter in home stadium games – a rule that could change next season – Martinez was assigned as right fielder against Washington.
And it was during what must have been a routine drive to that point, glove in hand in the bottom of the fifth inning, that Martinez screwed up, so to speak.
“I stepped on the base and bent my ankle,” said Boston manager Alex Cora. “He routinely worked that inning defensively.”
It was only the seventh game in 2021 that Martinez started in right field.
Martinez was replaced by Cuban pinch hitter Jose Iglesias in the top of the sixth inning and as part of a series of defensive changes. Hunter Renfroe went from center field to right on the bottom of that inning.
“The boys took up the challenge. That’s what we do, ”Cora said. “Someone falls and someone has to come in and do the work.”