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Red Sox notes: Latest on Mitch Moreland (hamstring), reasons why Brock Holt, Eduardo Nunez are starting vs. Astros

Ryan Hannable
October 13, 2018 - 6:06 pm

Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland is on the ALCS roster, but is not starting in Game 1 against Houston right-hander Justin Verlander.

Manager Alex Cora acknowledged he isn't 100 percent after suffering a hamstring injury against the Yankees in the ALDS, and also added he actually wasn't available in New York like he had said at the time.

"He’s not 100 percent, but he’s available," Cora said. "We can use him to hit. He’s not the fastest guy anyways. Hopefully he doesn’t have to run too fast either. He needs days but he’s available. This is the real one. In New York, I was just playing the part."

Added Cora: "He can pinch-hit and he can play defense. He ran yesterday, he hit, a lot better than New York. We’ll use him later on in the game if needed."

Despite not being able to play Saturday, Cora acknowledged Moreland is an important part of the team.

"I mean it was a topic. We talked about it," Cora said when asked about keeping Moreland on the roster. "I mean if he doesn’t show up yesterday and run and shows that he can move, we — Because it’s hard to put somebody on the roster and then he’s hurt. There’s no guarantee that you know like, we can prove that yeah, he’s really hurt. You know what I mean? And then all of a sudden you start thinking ahead because you have to think ahead. I don’t care, oh, you can’t think about the World Series. Yes, you know, because there was an option of keeping him off the roster so he can be active for the next one. But if he gets hurt now, then he’s not, he can’t play in the second, in the World Series.

"And I mean, he’s, we need him. But yesterday he moved around, he took ground balls. We push him actually, and everything was fine. I think with our roster with what we’re going to try to do as far as like pinch-hitting and using guys, he’s very important. He’s very important. "

As for Eduardo Nunez getting the start over Rafael Devers at third base, Cora said it's matchup related.

"The matchup," he said. "[Justin Verlander is] a guy that attacks the upper part of the strike zone and he’s relentless with it. I felt like the matchup for Raffy to start the game wasn’t a good one. He matches up well against their bullpen. I talked to him already, just be ready, because [Joe] Smith and [Roberto] Osuna and [Ryan] Pressly are actually good matchups for him. He’ll be a big part of the series."

Same thing goes for Brock Holt over Ian Kinsler at second base.

"Velocity, too," Cora said. "He’s swinging the bat well. Felt like he’s been catching up with velocity up in the zone and he’s been putting good at-bats, so we went with him."

Holt is coming off hitting for the cycle in Game 3 of the ALDS in Yankee Stadium.

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