The Red Sox may have secured their spot in the American League Wild Card Game with a hard-fought, 7-5 win over the Nationals on Sunday night, but they lost J.D. Martinez to injury in the process of doing so.
Martinez, who got the start in right field for Sunday’s series finale with there being no designated hitter in a National League Ballpark, sustained a left ankle sprain in the middle of the fifth inning.
While jogging out from the visitor’s dugout to take his position, the 34-year-old slugger tripped over the second-base bag and came up lame as a result.
That prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora and a team trainer to pay Martinez a visit in the outfield, though he was able to talk his way into staying in the game at that point.
After moving very slowly on Alex Avila’s two-run double to right field in the bottom of the fifth, however, Martinez’s day ultimately came to a close, as he was pinch-hit for by Jose Iglesias in the top of the sixth and replaced by Hunter Renfroe in right in the bottom of the frame.
Following Sunday’s dramatic, come-from-behind victory over the Nationals, Cora provided an update on Martinez, who was at least able to celebrate with his teammates despite being hobbled.
“He twisted his ankle on the way to right field,” Cora told reporters via Zoom Sunday night. “He stepped on the bag and twisted his ankle. He grinded that inning defensively.”
In Martinez’s place out of the No. 5 spot in Boston’s lineup, Iglesias, who took over at second base while Enrique Hernandez moved to centerfield, went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and one run scored.
“We took [Martinez] out, Iggy did a good job. Got two hits, played good defense,” said Cora. “And the guys stepped up. That’s what we do. Somebody goes down, somebody has to come in and do the job, and tonight was really good.”
When asked if Martinez would be ready to go for Tuesday’s highly-anticipated Wild Card Game against the Yankees at Fenway Park, Cora could only respond by saying he and the team will know more on Monday.
Before his removal from Sunday’s contest, Martinez had gone 0-for-1 with a strikeout while also getting plunked by a pitch.
That said, the four-time All-Star finishes his 2021 campaign having slashed .286/.349/.518 with 42 doubles, three triples, 28 home runs, 99 RBI, 92 runs scored, 55 walks, and 150 strikeouts over 148 games and 634 plate appearances.
(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)