The Boston Red Sox added Chris Young to their playoff roster after Eduardo Nunez aggravated his knee injury during his first at-bat in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Thursday.
Nunez swung at the first pitch he saw from Houston Astros starter Justin Verlander and was clearly in pain as he started out of the batter’s box. He attempted to beat the throw to first base, but eventually fell down and had to be carried off the field.
“I didn’t expect that,” said Nunez, per the Boston Herald. “We do a lot of treatment, a lot of simulated games. We do everything we can to be ready and obviously now we know my knee’s not ready yet.”
The Red Sox removed Nunez from the roster after the game, meaning he would not be eligible to play in the American League Championship Series should Boston advance past the Astros. It is a significant blow to the Red Sox, as Nunez’s .321 batting average and .892 OPS leads the team since he was acquired from the San Francisco Giants in July.
Hanley Ramirez took over for Nunez as the designated hitter on Thursday and recorded a pair of hits.
Young was initially left off the ALDS roster in favor of right-handed-hitting Rajai Davis. He hit just .235 with a .709 OPS during the regular season.
Nunez had been considered questionable for the Astros series due to the posterior cruciate ligament damage in his right knee, but was declared healthy enough to play after going through a simulated game on Monday.
“No regrets, because everything that we had, everything we had available to us, we accomplished those steps, the way he felt, trying to get another bat back in our lineup that I think we needed,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “No, no regrets with the way things have unfolded here.”
Farrell had planned on starting Ramirez at first base against Houston left-hander Dallas Kuechel in Game 2. There is also the option of starting Deven Marrero at third base over Rafael Devers, but Nunez’s injury throws the lineup into some flux.
Young is 7-for-25 in his career against Kuechel.
Earlier in the day, the Red Sox announced that Doug Fister will start Game 3 in Boston on Sunday.