J.D. Martinez ‘isn’t likely’ to return to the Red Sox lineup until Friday

Martinez sat out Wednesday's game due to a sore back and missed the previous two contests due to illness.

Alex Cora said J.D. Martinez is not likely to return to the Red Sox' lineup until Friday.

TORONTO (AP) — Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez was held out of the lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays because of a sore back. Manager Alex Cora said the two-time All-Star isn’t likely to return to the lineup until Friday.

Martinez sat out the previous two games because of illness but had been expected to return Wednesday. He’s hitting .308 with nine homers and 28 RBIs.

Manager Alex Cora said he was hesitant to play Martinez in Thursday’s finale, citing Toronto’s artificial surface and the early 12:37 p.m. game time. The Red Sox begin a three-game series at Houston on Friday.

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The Blue Jays are fortunate to not have to face Martinez: He’s got 13 homers and 41 RBIs in 40 career games against Toronto.

Martinez went hitless in nine straight at-bats before his absence. He’s homered five times in his past 10 games following a 15-game drought.

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