Red Sox News: J.D. Martinez is the latest Boston player to land on COVID-IL

BOSTON, MA - JULY 24: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Fenway Park on July 24, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 24: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Fenway Park on July 24, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Boston Red Sox have placed J.D. Martinez on the COVID-IL

J.D. Martinez hasn’t been playing well lately. He’s not feeling well either. The Boston Red Sox placed their star designated hitter on the COVID-related IL prior to Saturday’s doubleheader with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Connor Wong has been recalled from Triple-A Worcester to take the place of Martinez on the active roster. Tanner Houck has also joined the team as the 27th man for the doubleheader.

Manager Alex Cora explained that Martinez wasn’t feeling well the previous day, according to MassLive’s Christopher Smith.

"“He felt sick last night,” Cora said Saturday. “He’s been feeling sick the whole day. He’s going to go through testing.”"

This suggests that Martinez was under the weather during Friday night’s game when he went 1-for-4 while the Red Sox were blown out in an embarrassing 12-4 loss in Toronto.

Illness can’t be entirely to blame for the poor performance considering Martinez’s lack of production extends well before he started feeling sick. Martinez is batting a meager .190 with a .561 OPS in five games this month. He’s 9-for-60 (.150) over his last 15 games.

Martinez is too talented to continue struggling for much longer but his opportunity to get back on track will have to wait while he recovers from this illness. His absence comes at an inopportune time as the Red Sox have dropped eight of their last 10 games. Boston has fallen 2.5 games behind the Rays in the AL East while the Yankees and Blue Jays are rapidly gaining on them.

While the roster move officially entails placing Martinez on the COVID-IL, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he has COVID. At this point, he hasn’t tested positive. If the test comes back negative, Martinez could be back in the lineup by tomorrow. Matt Barnes recently spent a stint on the COVID-IL that lasted only one day. Jarren Duran is currently on the COVID-IL but hasn’t tested positive for the virus despite displaying symptoms.

Three players being sidelined in a short time frame is cause for mild concern but we can’t hit the panic button over a potential outbreak if there haven’t been any positive tests. Still, it’s not a great look for Martinez to be sidelined because he might have COVID considering he’s been one of the more outspoken Red Sox players about the vaccine, calling it a “personal” decision while refusing to acknowledge if he planned to get vaccinated.

Hopefully, both Martinez and Duran will test negative and return to the lineup soon. If they do indeed have COVID, it could be at least 10 days before they are able to play again. The Red Sox can’t afford to be without two hitters from the top half of their lineup for that long. Granted, both players have struggled recently but they aren’t going to pull out of their slumps by sitting around in a hotel room. Boston needs those bats back soon.

Next. Perez removed from rotation. dark