According to Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston, David Ortiz began his minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket tonight and went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
Ortiz struck out swinging in his first at-bat, but reached on a hard-hit single up the middle in the third inning and later delivered an RBI single through the shift in the fifth. The veteran slugger faced his biggest test of the night when he ran from first to third on a double, but fortunately for the Red Sox, he didn’t have any issues with his heel.
Ortiz is expected to need a minimum of 20 at-bats in the minors before he’s activated. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes that it’s possible he could be ready to play in a series against the Indians next week, but the Red Sox could wait until they return home next Friday to begin a series against the Royals.
Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava have split at-bats out of the DH spot during the early part of the season, but Ortiz’s return will push them out to left field. Jackie Bradley, Jr. has received most of the playing time there so far, but it’s likely he’ll soon be headed to the minors.
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.