The Red Sox added J.D. Martinez to the COVID-related injured list ahead of Saturday’s split doubleheader against the Blue Jays in Toronto as a precautionary measure. Martinez had COVID-like symptoms and was undergoing extensive testing to see if he had the virus as of early Saturday afternoon.
“I’m always concerned,” manager Alex Cora said before the opener, a 1-0 Red Sox loss. “This is something we’ve been talking about from the get-go. It’s where we’re at. Obviously there are guidelines and protocols. But there’s the human element, right? You have to take care of not only those players but the rest of the players. I think it’s the right thing to do.”
The Sox still haven’t received word on Jarren Duran’s test after he was added to the COVID-related IL on Friday.
The Red Sox still haven’t reached the 85 percent threshold implemented by Major League Baseball that categorizes a team as fully vaccinated. When Cora, who is vaccinated, was asked if that made him even more frustrated considering the Sox’ circumstances, he reiterated that everyone has a choice not to get the vaccine.
“It’s a topic that I haven’t thought about in a while,” Cora said. “This is where we’re at as a group. The group has been very responsible, as far as doing the right things, taking care of themselves, keeping their trust circles very small.”
Canada has its own COVID-19 protocols, as do the Blue Jays. Contrary to many places in the US, players are required to wear masks in the clubhouse and on the team bus. Players were also spotted wearing masks in the dugout.
The Red Sox have lost eight of their last nine after dropping the opener of Saturday’s doubleheader. Martinez has been in a funk, batting just .218 with a .654 OPS since the All-Star break. Yet losing a hitter of Martinez’s caliber, even for a day and particularly against the Jays’ pitching staff, certainly is a blow. Cora said it will be a chance for others to step up.
“We have to maximize the lineup,” Cora said. “That’s the way I see it. [COVID] is something that is going around the league. It’s part of it. We knew that.”
Bench coach Venable tests positive
Red Sox bench coach Will Venable tested positive for COVID-19. “He’ll be out for a while,” Cora said. “I think what makes it difficult is where we’re at right now.” First base coach Tom Goodwin also was considered in close contact, which is why he wasn’t coaching first base Saturday. Rámon Vazquez took over Goodwin’s duties instead. Venable is in his first year with the Red Sox, coming over from the Chicago Cubs, where he was a part of their staff for three seasons and served as the club’s third base coach in 2020. Cora said his Sox team had to go through testing throughout that first game Saturday . . . Matt Andriese (hamstring) was scheduled to toss one inning Saturday for Triple A Worcester. Ryan Brasier was set to throw a live batting practice. Also, Danny Santana (groin) and Christian Arroyo (hamstring) are now hitting and doing baseball activity.
Julian McWilliams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack.