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Torey Lovullo says J.D. Martinez is ‘going to be huge’ for Red Sox

Torey Lovullo (right) got 29 homers out of J.D. Martinez in just 62 games last year.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Torey Lovullo wishes he still had J.D. Martinez, but that’s life for a mid-market team that already has the burden of a huge contract in Zack Greinke (six years, $206.5 million) and will have a big one once Paul Goldschmidt hits free agency after 2019.

“J.D. is off the charts,” texted the Diamondbacks manager from his camp in Arizona. “You’re going to love him. He’s going to be huge for you guys.”

Lovullo never had a problem with Martinez’s defense and actually felt he was a good right fielder with a strong arm. Martinez had 15 assists in 2015 for Detroit and teams stopped running on him.


Martinez was off Monday along with most of the team after stepping up to the plate six times in a camp game Sunday, when he walked three times and had three hits and knocked in two runs.

The D-Backs are trying a piecemeal solution to replace Martinez, who hit 29 homers in 232 at-bats for them after being traded by the Tigers July 18.

They have Steven Souza Jr., who was obtained from Tampa Bay last month, and Cuban-born Yasmany Tomas, who hit 31 homers in 2016 and is now trying to rebound from groin surgery and a January arrest for driving 105 m.p.h. in the Phoenix area. Tomas is currently projected as a reserve outfielder, but he does have major power.

Lovullo’s son, Nick Lovullo, is a Red Sox minor league infielder who played in a camp game Monday and faced David Price.

The Diamondbacks are counting on new addition Steven Souza Jr. to help make up the power void left by J.D. Martinez.Chris O’Meara/AP/File

Room for Swihart?

Some scouts expect their general managers to be all over Blake Swihart and his potential availability in a trade in the weeks ahead. “It’s a bit too early now,” said an American League executive, “but they will be.” The executive said that among an extensive list of “out of option” players teams will be looking to acquire, Swihart is “in the top 10.”


The Red Sox don’t seem to be in any hurry to move Swihart unless they receive a top-five prospect in return. Swihart was once one of those top-five-type prospects until he incurred a serious ankle injury in 2016.

He is off to an impressive start this spring, and opposing teams are starting to realize that he may be back to being that top prospect, a switch-hitting catcher who can run.

With Dustin Pedroia starting the season on the disabled list, it may create a roster spot for Swihart early on, allowing the Red Sox to protect him from waivers. Eduardo Nunez will likely start the season at second base. Sandy Leon is the backup catcher, Mitch Moreland is the backup first baseman, and barring a transaction, Brock Holt would continue as the utilityman. That would leave one more opening on the bench, and that’s where Swihart could be saved.

There’s also the possibility that Holt could be released so the Red Sox aren’t on the hook for his $2.2 million salary after a rough 2017 season. Holt is valuable in that he plays both the infield and outfield, but the Red Sox are grooming a less-expensive version in Tzu-Wei Lin, who is a legitimate shortstop and has been playing some center field.

Lin is 24 and Holt is 28. This will be an interesting spot to watch on a team that is pretty much set except for one bench role and one bullpen spot.


Brock Holt (right) could lose his utility job if the Red Sox opt to keep the younger and less expensive Tzu-Wei Lin on the opening roster.John Minchillo/AP

Remy progressing

NESN analyst Jerry Remy is slowly but surely getting his strength back after his most recent cancer treatments, as he walked a good distance from the clubhouse to the back field to watch Price throw his controlled game. Remy plans on working in the broadcast booth this month but is trying to build up his endurance. He’s pleased with his progress . . . Dave Dombrowski may not be done adding bullpen arms, starters, or backup outfielders. Still plenty of major league talent out there, though most would have to accept a minor league deal with the exceptions of Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, and Jake Arrieta, who will garner multiyear deals at big dollars. While lefty reliever Bobby Poyner is a dark-horse candidate to make the team, the Sox could seek to add a veteran lefty. Other veterans coming off bad years, such as Tyler Clippard, Joe Blanton (bouts of shoulder inflammation early last season), or Trevor Cahill (shoulder impingement), could be invited to camps if they’re healthy . . . Former Red Sox righty Clay Buchholz has been trying to get a major league job after missing almost all of last season with the Phillies . . . The Red Sox enjoyed an off day Monday but are back in action Tuesday at Port Charlotte against the Rays.

Former Red Sox righthander Clay Buchholz is still looking for a big league job after pitching in just two games for the Phillies in an injury-shortened 2017 season.Matt Rourke/AP/File

Nick Cafardo can be reached at cafardo@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.