For the second time this season Mariners prospect and former No. 2 overall pick Danny Hultzen is sidelined by shoulder problems.
Back in April he was diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff after having difficulty warming up before a start and Wednesday night Hultzen was scratched from his scheduled Triple-A start when he couldn’t get loose again. For now the Mariners are calling it a shoulder “irritation” and a “minor setback.”
Hultzen pitched very well when healthy enough to take the mound this season, throwing 29 innings with a 2.20 ERA and 31/7 K/BB ratio, which put him in line for a potential call-up. But now he’ll be shut down for at least two weeks and then the 23-year-old left-hander will have to build back his arm strength from there.
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.