Red Sox’s J.D. Martinez uncertain vs. Yankees in wild-card game

So much went right for the Red Sox on Sunday, when they clinched their spot in the wild-card game and touched home plate seven times to beat the Nationals.

There were issues around second base, though, that might linger.

J.D. Martinez, who is probably the second-best hitter on the club behind Rafael Devers, sprained his left ankle Sunday when he tripped over the bag running out to play right field and is uncertain for Tuesday’s one-game playoff with the Yankees.

Alex Cora said the DH — who does not play the outfield often but had to in Washington under National League rules — was getting treatment, and the Red Sox manager did not yet know his status.

“That just plain-up sucks. Freak injury there,” Kyle Schwarber told reporters from Fenway Park on Monday. “Hoping the best that he’s able to go out there and play. He’s been a staple here for how long now?”

J.D. Martinez
AP

Four years, in which he has made the All-Star team three times and emerged as a middle-of-the-lineup force as predominantly a designated hitter. He has been Boston’s Giancarlo Stanton.

If Martinez cannot go, Schwarber — who has been playing first — could shift to that role, and Boston could have Bobby Dalbec or Travis Shaw at first.

Whatever Cora’s play is, it would be a downgrade even with Martinez’s struggles this season against the Yankees, against whom he is batting .186. In all this year, the 34-year-old tallied 28 home runs and led the league with 42 doubles in another All-Star campaign.

Martinez, an 11-year pro, turned a middling career around beginning in 2014, when he retooled his swing and sought (and found) power, which the analytically minded Gerrit Cole appreciates. Martinez has hit Tuesday’s Yankees starter well in his career, posting a .375 on-base percentage with two home runs in 32 plate appearances.

“J.D. is a pretty big-time slugger and seems like a pretty resilient individual based on the career path to get to being a big-time slugger in a big-time market,” Cole said in Boston. “He’s got some magic and he’s got a lot of talent.”

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