Needing reliever, struggling Nava sent to Minors
Wilson called up to add depth to bullpen; Victorino likely to return Thursday
BOSTON -- Daniel Nava's slow start has resulted in a trip back to the Minor Leagues.
With Shane Victorino likely to be activated from the disabled list on Thursday and Boston's bullpen in need of an extra pitcher for Wednesday's game against the Yankees, Nava's roster spot was utilized.
"Given the number of innings by our bullpen in the last few days, we needed to add another arm out there. We also felt like we needed to get Daniel Nava going again," said manager John Farrell.
Right-hander Alex Wilson, who spent time with the Red Sox last year before suffering arm problems, was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.
"We felt like a two-inning reliever is what we needed, which Alex has done. He has a familiarity with the role and that is why he is here," said Farrell.
The Red Sox will likely send Wilson back to the Minors on Thursday to open up a spot for Victorino, who has been sidelined with a right hamstring strain.
With Nava out of the mix, Boston's starting outfield against right-handed pitchers will likely have Grady Sizemore in left, Jackie Bradley Jr. in center and Victorino in right.
Jonny Gomes will continue to play against left-handers while Mike Carp will make some spot starts against righties.
This was a downturn for Nava after being one of the feel-good stories of last season, when he hit .303 with 12 homers, 66 RBIs and an .831 OPS in a career-high 134 games. In his first 67 at-bats of 2014, Nava was hitting .149 with two homers, three RBIs, a .240 on-base percentage and 17 strikeouts.
"His struggles at the plate are evident. We need to get him back to the player we have seen in the past," Farrell said.
"He needs to have a more consistent two-strike approach. I felt like at times he tried to hit with a little too much power instead of a hitter of average who will occasionally hit home runs. He needs to get some work on the right side of the plate as well."
Nava had some memorable hits in Boston's World Series championship season, including game-winning homers in both the home opener and the first game back at Fenway Park after the Boston Marathon bombings. He also belted a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth on Aug. 1 to cap a comeback against the Mariners in a game in which Boston trailed 7-1.
"He was disappointed. It wasn't disbelief, but it was a disappointing message to deliver given his contribution last year," Farrell said. "However, it is the combination with the need for another reliever. While he may not have agreed with it, it was a necessity."
An independent-league player the Red Sox purchased for $1 from the Chico Outlaws prior to the 2008 season, few had even heard of Nava when he made his first trip to the Major Leagues on June 12, 2010.
In an almost surreal story, Nava hit the first pitch he saw in his debut that day at Fenway over the wall in right for a grand slam against the Phillies' Joe Blanton.
However, Nava fell out of favor after a difficult season in the Minors in 2011 and was taken off Boston's 40-man roster by the start of Spring Training in '12.
After Boston sustained a barrage of injuries in the outfield in 2012, Nava resurfaced, hitting .243 with a .352 on-base percentage in 88 games.
"Those aren't messages that you like to deliver, but what our team needs takes precedent over what we do and you try and explain it in a way by giving tangible reasons to warrant our decision and give a plan of action that he can attach to," Farrell said. "If he can accomplish those things, he is putting in his mind the ability to get back here."