Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez has been left off the playoff roster for the American League Wild Card Game against the visiting New York Yankees on Tuesday night at Fenway Park as he continues to recover from a sprained left ankle.
Meanwhile, infielder Gio Urshela is on the Yankees’ roster and will start Tuesday after suffering a bruised right thigh and some cuts while making a diving catch into the Tampa Bay dugout in Sunday’s game.
Martinez suffered the injury in the fifth inning of Sunday’s regular-season finale when he tripped over the second-base bag while jogging out to right field. He continued getting treatment on the ankle Monday.
“Obviously, we know what he means to us,” manager Alex Cora said Tuesday. “He’s a tough one, but at the same time they’ve got some guys over there that are banged up and aren’t part of it. I think this is the grind of 162 games.
“The way it happened … J.D. has been stepping on that bag [on his way to the outfield] for 10 years. It just happened that he slipped and he’s out now.”
Outfielder Jarren Duran was included on the wild-card roster, giving Boston a potential speed option on the basepaths, as was Nick Pivetta, who threw an inning of scoreless relief against the Nationals on Sunday. Another player on the roster is lefty reliever Josh Taylor, who has not pitched since Sept. 22 while recovering from a back strain.
Chris Sale, who started Sunday’s game, was not on the roster.
“It’s fun to make adjustments, but at the same time, it’s kind of like, ‘This is weird, right?'” Cora said. “… This is the nature of the tournament, right? This what everybody likes. It’s a one-game playoff and we’re ready for it.
“… There’s no rah-rah speeches here. If you need that, you’re in the wrong business. It’s Red Sox-Yankees for the chance to advance in the playoffs, so we’re good.”
Urshela, who was doing sprints in left field alongside a Yankees trainer and bench coach Carlos Mendoza on Tuesday afternoon, will be starting at third base and batting seventh in Tuesday’s win-or-go-home game.
While Tampa Bay players quickly waved toward the home dugout for a trainer, Yankees manager Aaron Boone ran across the field and was followed by members of the medical staff. Pinstriped teammates gathered near the dugout entrance while Urshela was tended to.
“He looked like a missile flying in there,” Boone said. “It scared me to death.”
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole (16-8) faces Nathan Eovaldi (11-9) at Fenway. The Yankees-Red Sox winner will move on to face the AL East champion Tampa Bay Rays beginning Thursday in St. Petersburg, Florida.
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