Major League Baseball roundup
Martinez 0 for 2 in Red Sox debut
Star slugger J.D. Martinez went 0 for 2 in his spring training debut for the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, just three weeks before opening day.
“He’s not behind at all,” new manager Alex Cora said.
Although Martinez will be Boston’s primary designated hitter, he also is expected to get time in the field. With the Red Sox playing split-squad games, he played left field and batted cleanup.
Facing Twins right-hander Jake Odorizzi, Martinez twice flied out.
“Seeing the ball, just going up there and trying to slow the ball down as best as I can, and swing at strikes,” Martinez said. “Really, that’s all I was really worried about, just get a pitch over the plate and put a good swing on it.”
“It felt good. It was fun. You don’t realize how much you miss something until you can’t do it and you haven’t been able to do it for a while. So it was fun to get out there,” he said.
The AL East champion Red Sox announced Feb. 26 they had signed Martinez to a $110 million, five-year deal. The 30-year-old hit a combined .303 with 45 home runs and 104 RBIs last season in just 119 games with Detroit and Arizona.
In his first game for Boston, Martinez hit behind Hanley Ramirez, who was serving as the DH. It’s a combination the Red Sox hope will add punch to a lineup that finished last in the American League with 168 home runs last season.
“He was designated for assignment four years ago (by the Astros, at the end of spring training in 2014), and now he’s going to hit in the middle of the lineup for the Boston Red Sox, with a team that has a chance to win the World Series,” Cora said.
“There’s no coincidence that he’s been successful the last few years because he found it and he keeps working on it,” he said.
Martinez said he typically likes to get 60 to 80 at-bats in the spring, including Grapefruit League and minor league games, to prepare for the season.
Despite the delayed start to Martinez’s spring, Cora said he believes the big hitter is right on pace for the season opener March 29 at Tampa Bay.
“It’s a spring training game, so he needs his reps,” Cora said. “But to see him out there, actually to see him around, spend time with him, it’s a lot different than the last week.”
“We’ve been on the road so much since he signed we haven’t been able to connect. So to have him in the lineup, have him in the dugout, that’s good, not only for me but for everybody,” he said.
Martinez knows there are big hopes for him, but he’s not letting that affect him.
“I feel like you guys have the expectations, the fans and the media,” he said. “Really, I’m just going to go out there and play my game and do what I’ve been doing for the last four or five years.”
“As far as the pressure and stuff goes, I’m just going to try to go out there and play my game. Obviously, ignore it, stuff like that. Obviously, playing in Boston, it’s a big market, so there’s going to be a lot more, but I think it’ll be a good test of handling it,” he said.
Twins 8, Red Sox (ss) 1
J.D. Martinez went 0 for 2 in his Boston debut, hitting a pair of flyballs. Martinez, who signed with the Red Sox in late February, batted cleanup and played left field. Jake Odorizzi gave up a run on three hits over 3 2/3 innings in his second start for Minnesota. Twins newcomer Logan Morrison got two hits and Miguel Sano doubled.
Phillies 2, Red Sox (ss) 1
Philadelphia opening day starter Aaron Nola gave up just one hit in four strong innings, striking out five. Drew Hutchison, who signed a minor league deal in February, worked three solid innings for the Phillies, giving up a run on two hits while striking out four. Newcomer Carlos Santana got a hit and is batting .211.
Yankees 11, Mets 4
Mets starter Zack Wheeler scattered four hits and fanned four in three scoreless innings. Travis d’Arnaud homered for the first time this spring.
Brett Gardner got two hits and well-traveled Billy McKinney, who has been part of trades for both Jeff Samardzija and Aroldis Chapman, hit a grand slam for his fourth homer for the Yankees.
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