Red Sox's J.D. Martinez: Making progress in recovery

Though Martinez (back) was on the bench for a fourth straight game in Sunday's 6-1 loss to the Rays, manager Alex Cora said the slugger's condition is improving, Christopher Smith of MassLive.com reports. "He's feeling better but he's not ready to play," Cora said. "So stay away from him. And hopefully [Monday versus the Rangers] or during the week [he'll play]."

While Cora's comments suggest the Red Sox sincerely view Martinez as day-to-day, the team may be motivated to take a cautious approach with his recovery. Martinez has dealt with back spasms on two other occasions this season and missed a little time due to the same issue in 2018, so clearing him to return before he's 100 percent healthy could increase the risk of him experiencing a longer-term setback. The Red Sox will likely reassess his condition early Monday before deciding if he's fit to play in the series opener.

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