BOSTON -- After breaking out of his slow start with three hits in Monday's win over the Rangers, A.J. Pierzynski admits he was pressing a bit.
"You can't really explain it unless you play baseball," said Pierzynski. "You don't understand what kind of goes through people's minds when you're playing, but there's a lot going on. I'm just happy to contribute and help the team win the game. Sometimes when you try to do too much, you try to do things you're not capable of, instead of letting things happen."
Pierzynski backed up Monday's effort with another three-hit game in Tuesday's 10-7 loss to the Rangers, going 3-for-4, driving in a run and scoring twice.
When manager John Farrell called for a hit-and-run early in Monday's game, Pierzynski slapped a single to left.
"I was actually happy John put on the hit-and-run on the first pitch in my first at-bat, because it kind of just let me relax," said Pierzynski. "I knew I had to do something to help the team, and it worked out."
With Pierzynski joining a World Series championship team that has much of the roster from last season intact, it's understandable he would be eager -- perhaps too eager -- to show his own worth.
"It's been a rough, long week, a frustrating week," said Pierzynski. "It's a new day every day. Good thing about baseball, you always get a chance either later in the game or the next day."
Pierzynski had two hits in his first 16 at-bats with Boston before Monday's game.
However, he had received credit for doing a good job handling the pitchers, in particular John Lackey, who is off to a solid start with Pierzynski as his batterymate.
"He has a lot of experience," said Lackey. "I've faced him a ton of times, so he knows what I've got, and he likes to be aggressive, and I like to be aggressive, so we work well together, for sure."
Breslow activated from DL; Workman sent to Triple-A
BOSTON -- The Red Sox activated reliever Craig Breslow from the disabled list on Wednesday and optioned Brandon Workman to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Workman was called into manager John Farrell's office, where he also met with general manager Ben Cherington, after Tuesday's 10-7 loss to the Rangers.
"Obviously it's not ideal, but I understand what they're doing. It's part of it," Workman said afterward. "I have to keep working. There's really not much else to do."
Workman will be stretched out to start with the PawSox.
The right-hander pitched multiple innings in Tuesday's game, going four innings and allowing just one run on one hit. He also struck out three.
"I threw the ball well and have up to this point," Workman said. "They want me to be stretched out. That's the plan and that's what we're doing."
In three games with the club this season, he combined to toss 61/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits.
"Breslow is coming back," Workman said. "Breslow obviously deserves a spot here. That's the way it goes."
Capuano making smooth transition to bullpen
BOSTON -- After serving almost exclusively as a starter throughout his career, it was fair to wonder how Chris Capuano would adapt to life in the bullpen.
Thus far, the lefty has provided highly encouraging signs for the Red Sox.
Not merely a long man, but someone whom manager John Farrell has trusted in a setup role, Capuano pitched three times over Boston's first seven games, giving up no earned runs over four innings.
"It probably goes back to his veteran status," Farrell said. "He knows what work is needed to get ready to come into a game when he's not starting. He's an extremely intelligent guy, and we saw, in getting to know him in Spring Training, he reads swings very well, his pitch selection has been pretty spot-on in terms of disrupting hitters' timing, and he's not just a multi-inning guy, evident by matching up [Monday] night in the eighth inning."
In Monday's game, Capuano induced Prince Fielder to hit into a critical double play, with the Red Sox leading by just a run at the time.
"I've just been trying to stay in a good routine, so that I stay sharp and I'm ready to go every day," Capuano said. "I'm just trying to watch the other guys out there and learn from them."
Koji Uehara, as it turns out, has been invaluable for Capuano to watch.
"I actually love watching Koji, how he goes about his business, as someone who's not overpowering but has really been dominant in a late-inning role," said Capuano. "I just try to watch these other guys out there and try to learn their routine."
Starters operate with more of a hitter-to-hitter game plan, while a reliever has to consistently pound the strike zone.
"You have to keep an aggressive mindset," Capuano said. "That's what I'm trying to do. I'm just trying to attack the glove and hit my spots and stay aggressive."
Bradley starts in right as Nava sits
BOSTON -- Daniel Nava, the primary leadoff man thus far, was the odd man out in Tuesday's lineup against the Rangers. Jonny Gomes batted first against a lefty, and the left-handed-hitting Jackie Bradley Jr. got the start in right, instead of the switch-hitting Nava.
Though Nava's off to a slow start at the plate, hitting .138 over his first 29 at-bats, Farrell doesn't think it's because of the switch to the top of the batting order.
"I don't think he's changed his approach. At times, he's hit into a little tough luck," said Farrell. "On Sunday, he could have easily had three hits. He was on base three different times [Monday] night. Last year was not a fluke, in terms of his ability to get on base. There's been a tendency of late at times to try to lift the ball a little bit. That's why you've seen a number of balls in the air. At the same time, it's 30 at-bats, and he's trying to get into the flow of the season as well."
And Bradley, on the heels of a three-hit game and two sensational catches in right field, was back in there.
Was Farrell playing the hot hand or prioritizing defense?
"Both. We've all come to realize the importance of defense in right field, and Jackie made two game-changing plays, I thought," said Farrell of the club's No. 3 prospect. "He's in a pretty good place offensively, from a confidence standpoint. It was an opportunity to give Daniel a night off his feet as well."
While Jacoby Ellsbury held down the leadoff spot for the better part of the last six seasons, the Red Sox don't have one set person to turn to at this point.
For now, Farrell will continue to mix and match.
"The one thing we prioritize is on-base, and yet we're still trying to generate that," Farrell said. "We're going to be in a situation where we mix and match as best we can, evident by the guys that are currently available. We're going to see Jonny and Daniel in that spot. There might be a time or two when we put Grady [Sizemore] in the leadoff spot.
"We don't have that prototypical guy right now. I like Dustin [Pedroia] in the 2-hole. It creates the middle-of-the-order continuity for the rest of the guys that are there. We're looking to take advantage of the strengths that our current roster has to offer."
• Lefty reliever Craig Breslow, an invaluable component in Boston's 2013 bullpen, is expected to be activated for Wednesday's game against the Rangers. Righty Brandon Workman is the most likely candidate to be optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.
• The Red Sox are confident Clay Buchholz will bounce back from his rocky first start against the Brewers when he opens a four-game series at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.
"He went through his normal five-day work routine. It comes down to game execution," Farrell said. "We feel like he's going to come to the mound with similar stuff that he had on Saturday night. It's a matter of being more consistent with his location from pitch to pitch. That was, to me, the reason why he had struggles the other night."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.