PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Two well-placed line drives resulted in a pair of hits for J.D. Martinez on Wednesday, but almost four weeks since he signed with the Red Sox, the slugger is still playing catch-up.

After a 2-for-3 performance with three RBI in the Sox’s 8-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, Martinez said his timing at the plate is behind schedule with a week to go until Opening Day.


“It’s getting there,” Martinez said. “The results were there but that’s kind of not me. When I’m getting hits to the left side of the field and those top-spin liners, for me I know I’m not there yet. When I’m hitting balls in the air, up the middle or the other way is when I’m feeling good.”

Martinez missed the first two weeks of camp while he was still hammering out the details of his contract following a long winter of free agency. He’s hitting .276 with a .714 OPS in just 29 at-bats.

“It feels like right around now like my body is starting to feel a little bit better, starting to get used to the whole grind thing where the guys who are here maybe got over that hump a little bit earlier,” Martinez said. “Some of those at-bats early on, your body is just beat up but you know you have to get the at-bats in.”

Martinez was in right field Wednesday and continues to get reps on defense.


“Because I’m 30 years old and I still feel like I can play defense,” he said. “I like playing defense and I enjoy it. It’s part of the game. DH is one of those positions you transition to later on in your career, not at my age really.”

The main part of his game Martinez will have to learn as the season starts is how to handle playing left field at Fenway.

Hitting at Fenway will also be a new challenge, he said.

“I’m kind of on the fence with it,” he said. “Most of my power and my strength is the opposite field, the other way. But I do hit balls to left field. It’s one of those things where I’m trying to see how it’s going to be.”

IT REMAINS  to be seen whether Brock Holt will make the 25-man roster ahead of out-of-options Deven Marrero as the final guy on the bench, but Holt is making his presence felt this spring.

He was on base three times Wednesday to push his average to .345 with a .920 OPS while having played second and third base, shortstop and left field.


Holt, who still has options, said he deserves a spot in the big leagues.

“I’m not too worried about it,” Holt said. “If the Red Sox don’t want me on the roster I’m sure there’s 29 other teams that would be happy to have me on the roster. That’s one of those things, you don’t worry about. I feel like I’m deserving of a spot on the team and I think if you ask anyone in the clubhouse they would say the same thing.”

Multiple concussions and a case of vertigo have put Holt on the steady decline over the last two seasons. After hitting .281 and .280 in back-to-back seasons in 2014 and 2015, Holt dropped to .255 in 2016 and .200 in 140 at-bats last year.

But he bulked up this winter and, on a new medication that started reducing his symptoms late last year, Holt feels like the concussions are behind him.

MANNY MACHADO drove in a run with his sixth spring double and is batting .404 as the Orioles topped the Red Sox 12-6 at Sarasota, Florida.

Chance Sisco hit a two-run homer and Tim Beckham hit his fourth home.

Boston’s Hector Velazquez allowed four runs in 41/3 innings.

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