J.D. Martinez was originally batting third and starting at designated hitter for the Red Sox in their series opener against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Friday night.
But about 80 minutes before first pitch, Martinez was scratched from Boston’s lineup due to what the club described as back spasms. The veteran slugger was replaced by Rob Refsnyder, who swapped spots in the batting order with third baseman Rafael Devers.
This is not the first time this season that Martinez has dealt with back issues. The 34-year-old was also a late scratch against the Mariners back on May 22 for the very same reason. He previously missed seven of a possible nine games in late April because of left adductor tightness.
Fresh off being named an All-Star for the fifth time in his career, Martinez is batting .302/.368/.481 with 30 doubles, nine home runs, 38 RBIs, 51 runs scored, 31 walks, and 84 strikeouts over 81 games (356 plate appearances) so far this season.
It remains to be seen if Martinez will be able to return to action against Toronto on Saturday.
(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)