Struggling Red Sox put slugger Martinez on COVID-19 list

Sports

Boston Red Sox’s J.D. Martinez hits a home run during the eighth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

TORONTO (AP) — The Boston Red Sox put slugger J.D. Martinez on the COVID-19-related injured list before Saturday’s doubleheader in Toronto, further weakening a struggling offense that has scored five runs or fewer in 13 straight games.

Martinez hasn’t tested positive for the virus, manager Alex Cora said.

The team said bench coach Will Venable had tested positive. First base coach Tom Goodwin was in quarantine after close exposure to Venable, and quality control coach Ramon Vazquez was coaching first base.

Martinez is batting .284 with 21 home runs and 68 RBIs in 104 games.

“He felt sick last night, has been feeling sick the whole day,” Cora said.

Boston, which had lost seven of eight and fallen out of the AL East lead, put rookie outfielder Jarren Duran on the COVID-19-related injured list Friday. Duran hasn’t tested positive, Cora said.

To replace Martinez, the Red Sox recalled catcher Connor Wong from Triple-A Worcester.

Right-hander Tanner Houck will be the 27th man Saturday. Houck was expected to start Game 2 in place of left-hander Martín Pérez, who was moved to the bullpen Friday.

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