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J.D. Martinez singles, records first RBI in debut for Mets on Friday vs. Cardinals

The New York Mets have welcomed a big bat to their lineup. On Friday, the Mets announced veteran slugger J.D. Martinez was added to the active roster, and he made his 2024 debut in their series-opener against the St. Louis Cardinals. Infielder Zack Short was designated for assignment in a corresponding move.

Martinez batted fifth behind Pete Alonso in his Mets debut and he wasted no time in making an impact. He singled in his first at-bat and in his third time up, gather another knock along with his first Mets’ RBI. 

That was the 1,003rd RBI of Martinez’s career and the Mets are the sixth team with which he’s driven home a run, following stints with the Astros, Tigers, Diamondbacks, Red Sox and Dodgers. 

Technically, Martinez was called up from Triple-A on Friday. He signed a one-year, $12 million contract on March 23 and agreed to be optioned to the minors to start the regular season so he could get at-bats and get up to speed at the plate. Martinez had to give his consent to go to the minors because his service time level allows him to refuse a demotion.

The 36-year-old Martinez went 6-for-19 (.316) with two doubles in five minor league games, including 3-for-8 with a double in two Triple-A games earlier this week. Martinez did not play from April 7-20 because of a back issue that was serious enough to require a cortisone injection. He has looked healthy since getting back on the field though.

Martinez authored a .271/.321/.572 batting line with 33 home runs with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. He even started the All-Star Game as the cleanup hitter. Although he is no longer the fearsome all-around hitter he was in his prime, Martinez remains a bona fide middle-of-the-order bat and a reliable power source.

Short, 28, was 1-for-9 as New York’s utility infielder. The Mets could have kept Short and sent D.J. Stewart to Triple-A. Like Martinez, Stewart is a limited DH type, though he is 8-for-32 (.250) with three home runs since starting the season in an 0-for-10 skid. The Mets want to keep his lefty power bat around.

The Mets entered play Friday with a 13-11 record — 13-6 since starting the season 0-5.

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