J.D. Martinez had the day off Friday as the Boston Red Sox opened their three-game series against the Cleveland Indians with a win. He rejoined the team Saturday for the middle game of the set and managed to not only break free from an 0-for-20 slump, but also hit a three-run home run in extra innings to give Boston the 5-3 victory.
Martinez said he appreciated the day off, and a day to reset was exactly what he needed. After Saturday’s game, he revealed that he didn’t take any swings on his day off. While he studied some film at night, he was “just trying to get away from everything.”
“I don’t get too many off days it feels like, and I’m good with that,” he said. “I love being out there. I love grinding it out. Just being able to step away and just kind of relaxing took my mind off everything, gives my body a rest. I’m all day just swinging, swinging, swinging. The four at-bats you see, those are the four swings I take in the game. But the ones outside of the game catch up to me. Being able to take something off, just going out there watching the guys play and rooting them on, it definitely helps me.”
The 34-year-old has seen more time in the outfield lately, and combined with his usual role as the designated hitter (which he said is emotionally taxing), he’s certainly been carrying a heavy load.
“I’ve been grinding pretty hard in the last couple weeks so I just wanted to take a full day to rest my body,” he explained.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora defended his decision to give Martinez the day off on Friday.
“If he played yesterday, today probably doesn’t happen,” he said. “We have to be very careful with these players. I know a lot of people get on me because of the rest, all that stuff. For us to be where want to be, what we’re trying to accomplish, we have to make sure these guys are close to 100 percent, which is almost impossible.”
If the alternative is no game-winning homer, we’ll take Martinez missing Friday.
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