|ESPN.com: Baseball||[Print without images]|
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Victor Martinez was activated by the Boston Red Sox before Monday's game and was back in the lineup, catching and batting sixth, though manager Terry Francona said that it will be just a matter of time before Martinez is back in the heart of the order.
Martinez hit an RBI single his first time up against right-hander Dan Haren, who was making his Angels debut.
Martinez has been on the disabled list since June 28 with a fractured left thumb. At the time he was hurt, the Red Sox were in second place, two games out of first in the AL East. The Red Sox went 9-13 in the 22 games he missed to drop to third place, eight games out.
The dropoff can't all be attributed to Martinez's absence, of course. On the same weekend in San Francisco in which Martinez was hurt, Dustin Pedroia fractured a bone in his left foot and Clay Buchholz strained his left hamstring, and three nights later Jason Varitek also fractured his foot, leaving the Sox without both of their big-league catchers.
The four catchers who played in Martinez's absence -- Varitek (two-plus games), Kevin Cash, Gustavo Molina and Dusty Brown -- have combined to bat .162 (12-for-74) with two RBIs, both belonging to Varitek.
Brown was optioned to Pawtucket to make room for Martinez.
"He certainly won't be hitting sixth very long," Francona said before the Red Sox beat the Angels 6-3. "It wasn't fair to stick him in third or fourth until he gets some games under his belt."
Martinez said his glove has been fitted with some special padding to prevent him from aggravating the injury. The thumb had been bothering him more swinging from the right side, but Martinez said that's no longer the case, and it won't be a big factor in Anaheim as the Angels are starting three right-handers in succession: Haren, Jered Weaver and Joel Pineiro.
Francona said whether Martinez plays all three games will depend on how he responds physically, but with Wednesday being a day game, Francona said the Sox are preparing to have Cash catch.
"I'm just excited," Martinez said. "It's not fun to watch the game from the bench."
Gordon Edes is ESPNBoston.com's Red Sox reporter. He has covered the Red Sox for 12 years and has reported on baseball for 25 years. Ask a question for his next mailbag here.