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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Considering it took four months for the Boston Red Sox and J.D. Martinez to get together, what’s another day before they make things official?

Martinez arrived at the Red Sox’s spring training facility Wednesday and underwent a physical, the last step in finalizing his five-year, $110 million contract. But for a second day in a row, the team announced there would not be a news conference to introduce the free-agent slugger because the physical had not been completed.

The delay prompted speculation that the Red Sox uncovered a medical problem, but team officials insisted the process of reviewing medical information simply hasn’t been completed.

“All I can say is that he continues to take his physical,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in a text message.

Dombrowski wouldn’t get into specifics about whether the Red Sox will send Martinez to Boston for further testing or fly a particular doctor to Fort Myers to see Martinez in person.

Asked if Martinez will work out with the Red Sox on Friday, Dombrowski said he was “unsure.”

One major league source said the Red Sox are merely being “thorough,” as they would with any free agent who signs a nine-figure contract. In December 2015, for example, the Sox agreed to terms with David Price on a Tuesday night, flew him to Boston for a physical and didn’t hold a news conference until Friday of that week to finalize the seven-year, $217 million deal.

Martinez has had a long injury history. In 2016, he crashed into the outfield wall and fractured his right elbow. Last year, he missed the season’s first few weeks with a sprained Lisfranc ligament in his right foot.

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Slumping New York Yankees shake up lineup against Atlanta Braves

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NEW YORK — New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone made three changes to the starting lineup of his slumping team against Atlanta on Tuesday night, inserting first baseman Mike Ford and left fielder Mike Tauchman and giving Brett Gardner his second start this season in center field.

DJ LeMahieu moved back to second base from first, and center fielder Aaron Hicks, left fielder Clint Frazier and second baseman Rougned Odor moved to the bench.

New York has lost five straight games, dropping to 5-10 for its worst start since 1997.

The switch-hitting Hicks was batting .160, including 3 for 32 vs. right-handers, Frazier was hitting .167 with no RBI and Odor was batting .125.

Ford was to make his season debut. He was recalled from the alternate training site and took the roster spot of Jay Bruce, who hit .118 and retired Sunday.

Jameson Taillon started for the Yankees, who were starting a stretch of games on 13 consecutive days. Charlie Morton started for Atlanta.

Boone said he might give Hicks another day off Wednesday.

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Infielder Neil Walker retires after 12 MLB seasons

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Veteran infielder Neil Walker announced his retirement Tuesday after 12 major league seasons.

Born in Pittsburgh, he played his first seven seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates before playing for the New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies over his final five seasons.

Walker, 35, made his announcement on Twitter, writing, “thank you to everyone that helped me in my journey to live out my childhood dream of being a Major Leaguer, I loved & cherished every day.”

The Pirates selected Walker with the 11th-overall pick of the 2004 draft and he went on to hit 93 home runs with 418 RBIs while slashing .272/.338/.431 in 836 games. His best major league season came in 2014 when he hit .271 and set career bests with 23 home runs and 76 RBIs, earning a Silver Slugger award. His 23 home runs broke Bill Mazeroski’s franchise record for home runs in a season by a second baseman.

Walker played for the Phillies during the 2020 pandemic shortened season, appearing in 18 games.

Overall, Walker finishes his major league career with 149 home runs and 609 RBIs and a slash line of .267/.338/.426.



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Mookie Betts out of Los Angeles Dodgers lineup after getting hit on forearm, but not expected to miss time

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SEATTLE — Mookie Betts was out of the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup on Tuesday after getting hit on the right forearm a night earlier, but manager Dave Roberts doesn’t expect it to be a long-term issue.

Roberts said X-rays on Betts’ arm were negative after the former MVP took a fastball from Seattle closer Rafael Montero off the inside of his right forearm in the ninth inning of Monday’s 4-3 Mariners victory. Betts remained in the game after getting hit.

Roberts said Betts was receiving treatment and that he was hoping to avoid using him in Tuesday’s game with the Dodgers having a day off on Wednesday before opening a four-game series with division rival San Diego on Thursday at Dodger Stadium.

“I was hoping that it would be something soft tissue, as opposed to you know the wrist or the elbow or something like that,” Roberts said. “I guess best case scenario. There was an exhale once he wanted to stay in there. So that’s part of it, the soreness, but I think that we dodged a bullet there.”

Betts is hitting .292 early in the season and already had one of the signature defensive moments of the season with his game-ending catch in the ninth inning last Saturday in a win over San Diego.

Chris Taylor started in center field for the Dodgers.

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