Victor Martinez is a tough, tough dude.
It takes an exceptional type to survive the rigors of catching every day, and Martinez has displayed that through his 10 or so years in the majors with the Red Sox and Indians. Between squatting hundreds of times a night, rogue foul balls, collisions at the plate, and whatever else a catcher runs into, Martinez has handled them all. And this is no faint praise coming from me — my favorite player (current and likely all time) is Jason Varitek, who is as hard as they come. Last season, he essentially played despite his body turning purple on him.
This week, Martinez wound up on the disabled list despite his best efforts to avoid such a fate, joining the parade out of the Sox’ clubhouse and into the doctor’s office. It’s been so remarkable, in fact, that you could almost construct a starting unit out of fallen. Actually, you can. And I have.
So without further delay, here is the Red Sox All-Disabled Team. And there’s no DH, so let’s just imagine they’re playing in a reconstituted Braves Field:
CF – Jacoby Ellsbury: The first of two Sox left fielders to be taken out by Adrian Beltre. Ellsbury takes his natural position in center in our injury ward special.
2B – Dustin Pedroia: As long as it’s hit right to him, he’ll be fine, since he demonstrated that he can field almost as well from his knees as he can standing up. Crazy bastard, that Pedroia.
1B – Victor Martinez: He’s playing first to fill a hole in the lineup here, though I imagine it’s just as hard to to pull on a first-baseman’s mitt as it is a catching mitt with a broken thumb.
3b – Mike Lowell: The Mike Lowell ending has become so sad that I don’t have it in me to make a joke here.
LF – Jeremy Hermida: Hermida’s line at the time of his injury — 45 games, 5 HR, 27 RBI, .217 AVG, .653 OPS. Until I looked it up, I really thought those numbers were better. They just seemed better when he was playing. Weird.
RF – J.D. Drew: Technically, Drew is not on the disabled list. But he’s always a stiff neck or a tight quad away from ceding right field to Darnell McDonald or Josh Reddick. It just feels right having him on this list.
SS – Jed Lowrie: I feel like just by typing his name, I’ve derailed his rehab assignment in Class A Lowell and cursed him with leprosy or something. I wouldn’t be shocked if he never played for the Red Sox again, which is much sadder than the Mike Lowell situation.
C – Jason Varitek: Of course, two hours after writing this, it was revealed that Varitek had a broken foot and was going to miss 4-6 weeks. So sorry, Dusty, but you’re being sent back down to Pawtucket’s All-Disabled Team.
P – Josh Beckett: Suffice it to say, he beat out Junichi Tawzawa for the start.
In the bullpen – Manny Delcarmen: A quick aside — I caught his last game in Pawtucket in 2005 before he was called up for the first time. In his one inning, the ninth, he convinced me that he would be the greatest reliever in Sox history. With devastating breaking stuff and a sick fastball with movement, he he had no business in AAA ball. Needless to say, for whatever reason, that hasn’t panned out. When he’s on, he’s on, but when he’s not, yikes.
Anyway, looking at that, I feel safe in saying that lineup could at least compete with Cincinnati Reds in the National League Central. Thankfully, they’re still hanging in there in the much-tougher American League East, sitting one game behind the first-place New York Yankees and one ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The thesis here is, if they get half of those guys back, look out.
This post inspired by a discussion with my friend Cee. Go read her blog.