J.D. Martinez wasn’t supposed to be in the lineup when the Boston Red Sox took on the Texas Rangers on Friday night, but one text message changed Alex Cora’s mind.
Well when the lineups came out prior to first pitch at Globe Life Park, Martinez’s name was there in his usual spot. And he ended up playing a huge role Friday night.
For Cora, though, it was an easy decision to put him in the lineup.
“He stopped by the office (Thursday) night after he got treatment, and I told him, ‘you’re not playing tomorrow,'” Cora said. “He said, ‘no I should be OK.’ And this morning he text me right away and let me know. You gotta trust your players. He’s not gonna lie to us. If he’s dizzy or has a migraine he’s not gonna try to compete that way. That was an easy one.
“One-hundred percent,” Cora continued. “… He’s not gonna lie to me in that situation. It’s either you feel OK or you don’t. … You gotta trust him. … He was good to go.”
Martinez prides himself on being a “trained hitter,” and much was made about him not being able to utilize the video room as much as he normally would due to COVID-19. That’s not an issue this year, and it shows in his stats. But Cora thinks there is more to it.
“I do believe people are making a big deal out of the video,” he said. “I think it’s more about his routine, what he can do. It’s an all-day process with his swing. He feels better physically, he’s in a better place with his mechanics. …
“… He’s on a mission.”
Here are some other notes from Friday’s Red Sox-Rangers game:
— Nathan Eovaldi hit a milestone Thursday night when he reached 1,000 innings pitched in his Major League Baseball career.
“I’m definitely grateful to be able to achieve that goal,” he said. “It means a lot to me, for sure.”
— The Red Sox starters have given their team at least five innings of work in their last six outings, something that’s been helpful to not only the bullpen, but to the team in order to give it a chance to win.
— Boston finished the month of April with a 17-10 record, good for MLB’s most wins. But Cora knows there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
“I know social media is going nuts,” Cora said. “Seventeen wins are 17 wins. ? You win 17 games a month you put yourself in that conversation. … We played well for a good period of time. ? We still have to keep working and getting better. I’m just proud of them.”
“That was impressive,” he said. “… His batting practice (Thursday) was phenomenal. It was unreal. … He’s in a great place right now. He’s slowing down the game. I do believe he’s about to go on one of those runs.”
— The Red Sox can make it two straight Saturday night when they continue their four-game set with the Rangers at 7:05 p.m. ET.