Scott Merkin of MLB.com reports that Paul Konerko was scratched from tonight’s lineup against the Tigers after having a loose fragment removed from his left wrist earlier today. While he won’t start the game, he will be available off the bench.
As Merkin notes, the minor procedure is likely related to chronic wrist soreness experienced by Konerko in the early part of May. The 35-year-old first baseman is batting .310/.380/.516 with 12 homers and 44 RBI over his first 247 plate appearances this season, so the issue hasn’t dramatically affected his production in any way.
Adam Dunn, who was originally out of Friday’s lineup, will start in his place against left-hander Andy Oliver. Dunn is still in search of his first hit against a left-handed pitcher this season. He enters Friday’s contest 0-for-38 with 17 strikeouts against southpaws.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.