Red Sox Place Andrew Benintendi on Injured List Due to Rib Cage Strain, Recall Ryan Weber From Pawtucket

Prior to taking on the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, the Red Sox have placed outfielder Andrew Benintendi on the 10-day injured list due to a right rib cage strain and in a corresponding move recalled right-hander Ryan Weber from the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket.

Per Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke, Benintendi suffered the strain when he tripped and fell down after rounding second base in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s loss to Tampa Bay.

The hope is that the 26-year-old will only miss the minimum 10 days on the shelf while J.D. Martinez and Jose Peraza will play more outfield in his place. In the meantime, Alex Verdugo will see the majority of his playing time come in left field and Kevin Pillar will see the majority of his come in right.

Prior to straining the right side of his rib cage on Tuesday night, Benintendi had put together his first two-hit game of the 2020 season, so this news comes at a less than ideal time for the struggling outfielder.

“I think it’s a tough break,” Roenicke said of Benintendi being placed on the injured list. “Hopefully he’s not out too long where he loses that feeling of his swing that he’s been working on.”

As for the guy who will be called up in Benintendi’s place, Ryan Weber is back with the big-league club just four days after he was optioned to the alternate training site.

The 30-year-old hurler struggled as the Sox’ No. 3 starter to begin the season, posting a 9.90 ERA over his first three starts. He will be available to pitch in relief of Zack Godley on Wednesday and would otherwise be a “full go” to pitch in relief of Kyle Hart in Thursday’s series finale against Tampa Bay.

With this transaction made, the Red Sox now have 15 pitchers and 13 position players on their active roster. Expect another move to be made on Thursday in lieu of Hart needing to be added before making his first career major-league start.

Red Sox Lineup: Jose Peraza Gets First Start of Season in Left Field in Series Finale Against Rays

After stranding the bases loaded in the ninth inning of a 5-1 loss to the Rays on Tuesday, the Red Sox will look to wrap up their first road-trip of the season with a bounce-back win in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

Left-hander Martin Perez will be making his third start of the year for Boston as he is coming off his first victory in a Red Sox uniform in his last time out against the Mets.

In five career outings (four starts) at Tropicana Field, the 29-year-old Perez owns a lifetime 8.39 ERA and .927 OPS against the Rays over 24 2/3 total innings of work.

Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind Perez and against Rays’ starter Ryan Yarbrough on Wednesday night:

Among the nine hitters in Boston’s lineup, J.D. Martinez has by far seen Yarbrough the best, as the 33-year-old owns a lifetime .636/.667/1.182 slash line in 11 career at-bats against the Rays southpaw.

Also worth noting here, Jose Peraza will be making his first start in left field with the Red Sox, a position he played 33 times while a member of the Cincinnati Reds.

With Peraza manning left field in this one, Andrew Benintendi will start the night on the bench, while the left-handed bats of Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mitch Moreland will also sit with a left-hander on the mound for Tampa Bay.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox going for win No. 4 in game No. 12.

Red Sox Lineup: J.D. Martinez Batting Third, Starting in Right Field in Series Finale Against Yankees

After getting his first day off of the season on Saturday, J.D. Martinez is back in the Red Sox lineup, batting and third and starting in right field in Sunday night’s series finale against the Yankees.

The soon-to-be-33-year-old slugger is off to a cold start in 2020, as he is slashing just .219/.324/.313 with no home runs and three RBI through his first eight games of the campaign.

“It’s awful,” Martinez said of his swing following Friday’s 5-1 loss to New York. “Yeah, I don’t know. I’m just trying to find it, really. Just grinding away, figuring it out. But I’m sure I’ll get it.”

Through his first eight games of the season, Martinez has primarily hit out of the two-hole for Boston. Sunday will mark just the second time he has hit third in the lineup.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, one reason the three-time Silver Slugger Award winner has struggled thus far could be the fact that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he does not have any access to the Red Sox’ video replay room during games to go over his previous at-bats.

“It’s definitely been an adjustment for me,” Martinez said Friday in regards to the new protocols put in place. “It’s something that’s a big part of my routine. And it’s a big part of who I am — the studying and everything. So it’s kind of one of those things where you’ve gotta kind of find a new routine.”

With left-hander James Paxton, someone Martinez has seen well (7-for-17, 2 homers, five RBI) over the course of his career, getting the start for the Yankees on Sunday, perhaps that could get the three-time All-Star going at the plate.

Here’s how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind right-hander Austin Brice, who will serve as the opener for Boston, and against Paxton on Sunday night. The left-handed bats of Andrew Benintendi, Alex Verdugo, and Mitch Moreland all sit, while Christian Vazquez DH’s and Kevin Plawecki gets the start behind the plate.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN and WEEI.

Red Sox Reliever Phillips Valdez Pitching Himself ‘Into Bigger Role,’ Ron Roenicke Says

One week into the 2020 season, Red Sox relievers own the 15th-best ERA (4.54), the 15th-best FIP (4.21), and the 20th-best fWAR (0.0) in baseball. Put simply, the Boston bullpen has been rather mediocre to begin things this year, which is understandable given the current state the starting rotation is in.

Despite that ‘mediocire’ notion, there have been a handful of Sox relievers who have stuck out in a positive way thus far, and one of them worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings against the Yankees on Friday night. His name? Phillips Valdez.

Yes, the right-hander scattered three hits and struck out three batters in relief of Ryan Weber in Friday’s series-opening loss to New York. With that outing in mind, Valdez has yet to give up a run through his first three appearances and 5 2/3 innings pitched as a member of the Red Sox.

Originally claimed off waivers by Boston from the Seattle Mariners back in February, the 29-year-old hurler has struck out more than 27% of the 22 hitters he has faced so far this season while holding them to a .200 clip.

Because of his strong first impression, Valdez could find himself in more high-leverage spots out of the Red Sox bullpen in the near future. His manager, Ron Roenicke, said as much when speaking with reporters Friday night.

“He’s pitching himself maybe into a bigger role,” Roenicke explained. “That’s why we stuck with him today because he’s been throwing the ball well when he starts going through some of these really good hitters and getting them out.”

Some of those “really good hitters” Valdez has gotten out thus far include Aaron Judge and Luke Voit, who both fell victim to 84 mph changeups from the Dominican Republic national on Friday.

Signed by the Indians as a 17-year-old out of the DR back in 2008, Valdez made his major-league debut with the Texas Rangers last June and is under team control with Boston through the end of the 2025 season.

Per Statcast, the slender 6-foot-2, 160 lb. righty primarily works with a changeup and sinker, while his slider and four-seam fastball lean more towards secondary pitches.

At the time he joined the Sox during the first version of spring training earlier this year, Valdez seemed like a long shot to make Boston’s Opening Day roster. But, coming out of the pandemic-induced layoff, the club obviously liked what they saw during Summer Camp and he was in there pitching against the Orioles last Friday.

Now, after getting off to a hot start with his new team, Valdez could become a legitimate weapon out of the Red Sox bullpen if he continues to prove that he can handle tougher situations as a reliever.

Red Sox Lineup: Kevin Pillar Moves to Leadoff Spot for First of Three Against Yankees

After sweeping the first leg of the road trip against the Mets on Wednesday and Thurday, the Red Sox will look to go unbeaten against another New York team in the American League East-leading Yankees over the weekend.

In the first of this three-game set in the Bronx, right-hander Ryan Weber will get the ball first for Boston, while 27-year-old left-hander Jordan Montgomery will do the same for New York.

Weber, 29, has never started a game against the Yankees before in his brief major-league career, but he does own a 2.84 ERA in three career relief appearances against the Bronx Bombers spanning 6 1/3 total innings pitched.

Montgomery, meanwhile, has three starts against the Red Sox under his belt, and he owns a 3.30 ERA in those outings spanning 14 1/3 innings of work.

As for how the Sox will be lining up behind Weber and against Montgomery to start things out on Friday, outfielder Kevin Pillar will get a crack at the leadoff spot in this one.

In what will be his first game as a leadoff hitter with Boston, the 31-year-old right-handed bat owns a lifetime .303/.339/.541 slash line in 118 career plate appearances when leading off against southpaws.

From there, J.D. Martinez is back in the two-hole at designated hitter, Rafael Devers is batting third after starting Thursday’s game on the bench, and Xander Bogaerts is batting cleanup. Pretty standard stuff for Sox manager Ron Roenicke thus far.

The red-hot Christian Vazquez, fresh off a 4-for-8, three-homer series against the Mets, will be starting at catcher and hitting out the No. 5 spot for the fourth time in five days, while Alex Verdugo will once again start against a left-handed pitcher and take Andrew Benintendi’s place in left field.

Rounding things out we have Michael Chavis starting at first in place of Mitch Moreland, Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field, per usual, and the ever-elusive Jose Peraza starting at second and batting out of the nine-hole for the third time in eight games.

Among the nine hitters in Friday’s starting lineup, Vazquez has had the most success against Montgomery, as he is a lifetime .750 hitter (3-for-4 with one home run) when facing the Yankees starter.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN, MLB Network, and WEEI. Red Sox going for their third straight win.

Red Sox to Stay in Same Hotel, Use Six Buses While in New York for Series Against Mets and Yankees

Adding on to Monday’s story about the Red Sox’ upcoming seven-game road trip, the club has put an adequate plan in place for their stay in New York City, according to manager Ron Roenicke.

Upon the completion of their two-game series against the Mets at Fenway Park on Tuesday, the Sox will depart from Logan Airport early Wednesday morning and arrive at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey at around 1:00 a.m. eastern time if all goes according to plan.

From there, the team will travel by bus from the airport to their hotel, the Lotte New York Palace in Midtown, where they will be spending the next five days for both of their series against the Mets and Yankees going into the weekend.

Per Roenicke, who spoke with reporters via Zoom prior to Tuesday’s contest with the Metropolitans, the Red Sox have “reserved a large ballroom [in their hotel] for meals and training staff.”

In regards to getting around the city, the club will utilize six buses when traveling between their hotel and both New York ballparks — Citi Field and Yankee Stadium — to ensure that proper social distancing protocols are followed through the use of assigned seating.

Despite all that’s gone on around baseball the past 24 hours, with the Phillies and Marlins pausing their seasons and all that, Roenicke still doesn’t seem too worried about traveling amid an ongoing pandemic, saying that “I still don’t have those concerns (about traveling). The more things happen, the more you hear about it, probably the more that it’s on my mind.”

After Tuesday, the Red Sox will not be back in Boston until the morning of August 6. A lot could change between now and then, and Roenicke, a former player himself, is definitely aware of that when keeping today’s players in mind.

If we get to the point where the players really feel at risk,” he said, “I know MLB will step in and do something.” 

Here’s to hoping the league doesn’t have to step in unless it is absolutely necessary.

‘You Do Not Go Into Nightclubs. You Do Not Go Into Bars’; Red Sox Players Will Not Be Allowed to Do Certain Things While on Road Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

After Tuesday night’s game against the Mets, the Red Sox will hit the road for the first time this season. The club’s first road trip of 2020 includes stops in Queens, the Bronx, and Tampa Bay. With all that traveling in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic comes a great deal of responsibility for players and staff alike, especially in Florida, which has emerged as one of the hot spots for coronavirus in recent weeks.

When speaking with reporters prior to Monday’s series opener against New York, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke detailed a Zoom meeting the team held to inform players what they can and cannot do on the road. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was also involved.

“We’re going on the road. We need to be careful with what we do,” Roenicke said regarding his team’s upcoming travels. “We are talking about different cities and who’s more at risk doing things in certain areas. New York has done a good job. You may be okay walking to a place there more than you would be in Florida.”

Earlier Monday, it was revealed that at least 14 Miami Marlins players and coaches tested positive for COVID-19, which led the club to cancelling their home opener against the Orioles while they remain in self-isolation in Philadelphia, where they spent the weekend playing the Phillies.

According to the Center for Disease Control’s COVID Data Tracker, there have been nearly 419,000 total coronavirus cases in the state of Florida thus far, which is second-most in the Untied States behind only California.

With all that information in mind, playing baseball games in Florida, whether it be in Miami or Tampa Bay, will obviously raise concerns among MLB players and staff while cases continue to rise.

As previously mentioned, the Red Sox will be arriving in Florida next week for a brief-two-game set against the Rays. With an off day on the Monday before that series begins, it will be imperative that the Sox follow the proper virus-related protocols. Roenicke said as much when speaking with reporters earlier.

“You do not go into nightclubs. You do not go into bars,” he stated when recounting what was told to the players in Monday’s Zoom meeting. “To be a hermit and stay in your room for the whole time and just go to the ballpark and stay home, it’s hard to tell a player they have to do it.”

With all the virus-related issues that have sprung up in the past 24 hours, more players may be leaning towards opting out of the remainder of the 2020 season. Roenicke, however, is hopeful that if the Red Sox can make players feel more comfortable, then they will not have to worry about that possibility.

“I don’t want to make them fearful of going on the road and playing. We’ve done a good job so far,” said the Sox skipper. “The more we keep them safe, the more comfortable they feel. We can continue on with this.”

Again, the Red Sox will be departing Boston for New York on Tuesday night. Hopefully we’ll still have a Major League Baseball season to talk about by then.