As they look to even their three-game series with the Astros at Fenway Park on Wednesday, the Red Sox will be without Alex Verdugo for a second straight night.
Verdugo has been dealing with back tightness the last few days, per Red Sox manager Alex Cora. The hope is that the outfielder will be ready to return for Thursday’s contest against Houston.
“He’s a little banged up,” Cora said of Verdugo when speaking with reporters prior to Wednesday’s game. “His back — he was tight on Sunday. Played on Monday. We decided to give him yesterday off. I talked to him yesterday during the game, and he felt like one more game will benefit him.
“So we’ll give him one more day,” added Cora. “He should be ready for tomorrow.”
Verdugo dealt with tightness in his back in early May as well, but only missed one game because of it.
The 25-year-old is hitting a sturdy .292/.351/.469 to go along with eight home runs, 11 doubles, one triple, 26 RBI, 36 runs scored, 18 walks, and 28 strikeouts over 56 games played so far this season.
With Verdugo out of the lineup, J.D. Martinez gets the start in left field and bats third, Enrique Hernandez gets the start in center field and bats ninth, and Hunter Renfroe gets the start in right field and bats fifth.
Danny Santana will hit leadoff and start at first base against Astros’ right-handed starter Jake Odorizzi. Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind Santana.
Houston-area native Nathan Eovaldi will make his 13th start of the season for Boston. The veteran righty comes into play Wednesday sporting a 3.78 ERA and 2.40 FIP through 66 2/3 innings pitched on the year.
First pitch between the 34-26 Astros and 37-24 Red Sox on Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)