The Red Sox will attempt to advance to the American League Division Series without J.D. Martinez in their lineup for Tuesday’s Wild Card Game against the Yankees at Fenway Park.
Martinez sustained a left ankle sprain when running out to right field in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game against the Nationals at Nationals Park (a National League ballpark where the designated hitter does not apply).
“For him not to post, it’s very serious,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “It is what it is. That thing looks huge. Humongous. He’ll get treatment today and we’ll go from there. But for tonight, it was a no.”
Upon jogging to his position Martinez tripped over the second-base bag and twisted his ankle, resulting in him getting pinch-hit for by Jose Iglesias a half-inning later.
Two days after suffering the injury, Martinez arrived at Fenway Park Tuesday morning with the swelling in his ankle having yet to go down, so he was promptly left off Boston’s Wild Card Game roster.
“The way it happened, I mean, J.D. has been stepping on that bag for 10 years,” said Cora. “It just happened that he slipped and he’s out now.”
With Martinez out of the lineup, Cora altered things significantly, as Kyle Schwarber will serve as designated hitter and bat leadoff, while Enrique Hernandez will start in center field and bat second and Bobby Dalbec will get the start at first base.
Even with Schwarber filling the void left behind by Martinez, Cora acknowledged that playing in a win-or-go-home game without the 34-year-old slugger is disappointing, though he does expect him to contribute in other ways.
“He’ll be the best assistant hitting coach in the world tonight,” Cora said. “The goal is obviously hopefully we can do what we do, play a good baseball game and advance, and see where we’re at for the next round.”
(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)