Mike Matheny says Matt Holliday “is trying to grind” through knee injury

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In the midst of a 0-for-18 slump, Matt Holliday was benched Sunday as manager Mike Matheny talked about the role a sore left knee has played in the outfielder’s recent struggles.

Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Holliday had his knee “flare up” during Wednesday’s game and went on to say:

He’s trying to grind for us because we need everybody to grind right now. He’s feeling it. You can tell by some of his movements.

As is so often the case, playing through–or “grinding” through, if you prefer–an injury leads to poor results and worse health.

Holliday is having the worst season of his career at age 34, posting career-lows in batting average (.260), slugging percentage (.407), and OPS (.769) while hitting just 12 homers in 119 games.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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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.