Jose Bautista is unlikely to return from the disabled list when he’s first eligible on Wednesday, but he’s making progress.
Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports that Bautista swung a bat today for the first time since injuring his left wrist on a swing on July 16. The 31-year-old slugger went through a series of dry swings and swings off a tee with a fungo bat. The next step involves doing the same with a regular bat before taking flip throws and then batting practice. Barring any setbacks, a return late next week appears possible.
Bautista is hitting .244/.360/.534 with 27 home runs, 65 RBI and an .894 OPS in 90 games played this year. He’s currently tied for fifth in the majors in home runs, despite his recent absence. Rookie outfielder Anthony Gose will likely be sent back down to Triple-A Las Vegas when Bautista is ready to return.
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.