Despite being added to their American League Division Series roster earlier in the day, J.D. Martinez will not be starting for the Red Sox in Game 1 against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Thursday night.
Martinez was one of 26 players Boston named to their 26-man roster after he was held out of action for Tuesday’s Wild Card Game win over the Yankees at Fenway Park.
The reason being, the 34-year-old slugger sprained his left ankle after tripping over the second-base bag while jogging out to right field in the fifth inning of this past Sunday’s contest against the Nationals at Nationals Park.
That incident resulted in Martinez’s ankle swelling to the point where he was unable to play on Tuesday, and it will keep him from being used in a starting capacity on Thursday as well — though he will be available off the bench.
In Martinez’s place, Kyle Schwarber will start at designated hitter while batting second behind leadoff man and starting center fielder Enrique Hernandez.
Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and Hunter Renfroe comprise the three-through-five portion of Boston’s lineup, while Alex Verdugo, Bobby Dalbec, Christian Vazquez, and Christian Arroyo round things out.
Vazquez will be catching Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who will be opposed by a fellow southpaw in Shane McClanahan for the Rays.
In three prior starts against Boston this season, McClanahan put up a 2.81 ERA and .598 OPS against over 16 total innings of work. The 24-year-old rookie also owns a lifetime 3.50 ERA in 13 regular season starts (64 1/3 innings pitched) at Tropicana Field since making his major-league debut last October.
Rodriguez, meanwhile, made two starts at Tropicana Field this year and pitched relatively well in both of them, allowing a total of five runs (three earned) on 11 hits, two walks, and 13 strikeouts over 12 innings of work. That’s good for an ERA of 2.25 and OPS against of .625.
As the Red Sox prepare to open up this best-of-five series against their division rivals on the road, first pitch Thursday is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. eastern time on FS1.
(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)