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J.D. Martinez in left field for Game 3, Andrew Benintendi benched

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When an American League team with an established DH plays in a National League park it always raises the question of whether to bench the DH or whether to force him into the defensive alignment. The Red Sox have known that was coming with J.D. Martinez for some time, and there has been significant speculation regarding where he’ll play in Los Angeles.

Alex Cora ended the speculation a little while ago when he released his lineup: J.D. Martinez will play in left field and Andrew Benintendi will ride pine.

The lineup:

1. Mookie Betts (R) RF
2. Xander Bogaerts (R) SS
3. Mitch Moreland (L) 1B
4. J.D. Martinez (R) LF
5. Brock Holt (L) 2B
6. Rafael Devers (L) 3B
7. Jackie Bradley Jr. (L) CF
8. Christian Vazquez (R) C
9. Rick Porcello (R)

Some had speculated that Mookie Betts might play second base, which was his original position, allowing Martinez to play in right, but it’s been a while since he’s played there and the Sox have decided to keep the presumptive MVP in his usual position and go with Brock Holt at the keystone.

Another thing they could’ve done is put Martinez in right, slid Betts to center and kept Benintendi in the game, but I like this move better. Martinez is going to be a defensive liability wherever he plays. He’ll be less of one in left than right and, if you keep Jackie Bradley Jr. in the game at least you have your best defensive outfielder next to Martinez to at least try to cover for him. Not that Martinez is a complete tourist out there, as he played 32 games in left field during the season.

As for the Dodgers, there are no surprises here. Against the righty Rick Porcello they, finally, put their big bats in the starting lineup, with Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson getting the call:

1. Joc Pederson (L) LF
2. Justin Turner (R) 3B
3. Max Muncy (L) 1B
4. Manny Machado (R) SS
5. Cody Bellinger (L) CF
6. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
7. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
8. Chris Taylor (R) 2B
9. Walker Buehler (R) P P

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.