Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez rejoined the team’s roster for their American League Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The division rivals will open the best-of-five ALDS on Thursday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.
In a surprise move, right-handed reliever Matt Barnes was left off Boston’s roster.
Martinez was left off the roster for Tuesday night’s wild-card win over the New York Yankees because of a sprained left ankle.
Martinez sustained the injury in the fifth inning of Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Washington Nationals when he tripped over second base while jogging out to right field.
Martinez, 34, batted .286 with 28 homers and 99 RBIs in 148 games for the Red Sox this season, his fourth in Boston.
The veteran outfielder and designated hitter is a four-time All-Star and has a .290 career batting average with 266 homers and 837 RBIs since making his major league debut with the Houston Astros in 2011.
Barnes was the team’s closer earlier this season, saving 24 games. He also signed a two-year, $18.75 million extension in July. But a 10.13 ERA in his final 16 appearances to end the regular season contributed to manager Alex Cora’s decision to go with three left-handed pitchers in the ALDS: Austin Davis, Josh Taylor and Martin Perez.
“Obviously he is disappointed. He wanted to be part of this,” Cora said. “But at the same time, he’s going to be a good teammate. And he’ll be there for us. You never know what could happen today or tomorrow or the next day as far as our roster with everything that can happen. So he’ll be ready. But it wasn’t an easy decision.”
–Field Level Media