Prior to Friday's game at Fenway Park against the Orioles, the Red Sox announced that All-Star slugger Kyle Schwarber has been activated. He's in the lineup hitting sixth and serving as the designated hitter. Schwarber has been out with a hamstring injury since July 2, when he was on the Nationals. He was acquired by the Red Sox just before the trade deadline, so this will be his first game as a Red Sox player.
The Red Sox could sure use a shot in the arm, as they've lost 11 of their last 14 games, falling from a 2 1/2-game lead in the AL East to five games back. They now only have a two-game lead over the Yankees (and 2 1/2 over the Blue Jays) for the second AL wild card.
Schwarber, 28, was in the middle of a career year when he suffered the injury. In 72 games for the Nationals, he hit .253/.340/.570 (148 OPS+) with 25 homers and 53 RBI. He won the NL player of the month in June, during which he hit .280/.362/.760 with 16 homers. He made the All-Star team for the first time in his career.
Schwarber's monster power to all fields will play really well in Fenway with the short porches in both right and left with the Green Monster making some would-be flyouts into doubles.
It's interesting that Schwarber didn't take a minor-league rehab assignment after missing almost six weeks. He was set to begin an assignment with the Triple-A Worcester club, but it was postponed and subsequently canceled altogether due to a rainout. Of course, he didn't need much time to ramp things up for the 2016 World Series and the Red Sox are facing a poor Orioles pitching staff this weekend.
J.D. Martinez is getting a day off Friday, but when he's back in the lineup, it appears the Red Sox are going to play Schwarber at first base. He has appeared in one game at first base in his career and it wasn't even for a full inning. He did see two games of action there in the Cape Cod League in 2013, but that's an awful long time ago.