PHILADELPHIA — Mookie Betts is still experiencing soreness in in his left foot, the effects he believes of playing on the turf in Toronto last week.
Betts said he never has had issues with his feet after playing on turf, “more just like aches with the hamstrings stuff,” he said. He described this one as unusual.
Manager Alex Cora stayed away from using Betts in the Red Sox’ 6-3 victory over the Phillies on Sunday but he hoped to have him back in the lineup during the three-game series with the San Francisco Giants, which begins Tuesday at Fenway Park. However, Betts will first visit team doctors when the Red Sox return home.
“He’s still sore,” Cora said. “But we don’t feel like it’s something that’s going to take him a while. Hopefully, he’ll be back in the lineup for the Giants and finish the season strong.”
Cora’s target date for Betts will depend on the tests. With the Red Sox out of the playoff hunt, they will take every precaution necessary. In Betts’s case, they certainly won’t rush it, particularly with just two weeks left in the season. Betts said Saturday he was hopeful this wouldn’t be a long-term deal.
“It will be all right,” Betts said. “It’s just one of those things where when you’re coming off the turf, it’s kind of tough.”
Betts has put together another great year, leading the league in runs scored (131) while also hitting .292 with 28 homers and a .918 OPS.
Hembree season in question
The Red Sox are racing against the clock with reliever Heath Hembree. Hembree (elbow) has been on the injured list since Aug. 2 and there’s a possibility he might stay there for the remainder of the season. He was scheduled to pitch a simulated game Saturday, but Cora and pitching coach Dana LeVangie decided to give it a bit more time, rescheduling the session for Tuesday. On Sunday, though, Cora said that the simulated game would have to be pushed back even more. Perhaps, it might not even happen.
“It’s not like he’s in a bad spot, but he doesn’t feel great,” Cora said. “He was sore around the area. With that one, we’ll talk [about what to do next]. If we’re running out of time, we’re running out of time. We’re not going to push him to pitch just to pitch. We’ll talk it about it probably [Monday] and make a decision.”
Closing it out strong
Brandon Workman registered his 14th save of the season on Sunday. After issuing a two-out walk to Adam Haseley in the ninth inning, he struck out Maikel Franco on four pitches, lowering his ERA to 2.04 on the season.
Workman has a 1.03 WHIP in 66⅓ innings and has become the Sox’ most reliable arm at the back end of the bullpen. He’s given up just one homer this season and 56 of his 67 innings have been scoreless.
It wasn’t always like this for Workman, who was left off last year’s Opening Day roster and spent most of the season on the shuttle between Pawtucket and Fenway.
“Last year was a lot different,” Cora said. “In spring training, he was throwing 84 [miles per hour], 85, 87. That was it. This year, he showed up in much better shape. It was a different offseason for him. I do believe that [leaving him] off the roster had something to do with it. It was a wake-up call.”
Next up: Giants
The Red Sox are 9-8 against the National League with three games coming up against the San Francisco Giants starting on Tuesday . . . With Rick Porcello going 0 for 2, Sox pitchers are 1 for 21 in interleague games this season with one RBI and 11 strikeouts. David Price has the only hit (April 6 at Arizona) . . . Chris Owings (0 for 4) and Sam Travis (0 for 4) continued slumps. Owings is 2 for 25 with 13 strikeouts since being called up. Travis is 0 for 19 in his last eight games with a plate appearance and 1 for 25 since Aug. 23 . . . Phillies manager Gabe Kapler and All-Star outfielder Bryce Harper were ejected Sunday for arguing balls and strikes.
Julian McWilliams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.