BOSTON Daniel Nava was in the Red Sox original lineup for the finale of the three-game series against the Nationals at Fenway Park. He was set to play left field and bat lead-off.
But Nava -- with whom the Sox are 7-1 when he is in the lead-off spot -- was scratched shortly before game time with what was called a sore left hand.
He was unavailable today, manager Bobby Valentine said after the game, a 4-3 Red Sox loss. He had an injection. They said he couldnt play. Hurt his thumb yesterday.
Valentine had no specifics on how Nava was hurt. And Nava was equally vague.
Its just a sore left hand, he said.
He said it happened before the game Saturday and got worse during the game. He said he received an injection of cortisone just to make it feel better.
Nava said he hopes to play Monday in Miami.
Were hoping tomorrow, he said. If its good tomorrow, Im going to go tomorrow.
But Valentine said Navas unavailability Sunday, limitedthe managers options in the late innings.
With runners on first and second and two outs in the eighth, right fielder Ryan Sweeney batted against Nats lefty Tom Gorzelanny. Sweeney, a left-handed hitter, entered the at-bat hitting just .118 (2-for-17) with a walk and seven strikeouts against lefties. Nava, a switch-hitter, is hitting .200 (6-for-30) with a home run, four RBI, six walks, and five strikeouts against lefties.
But, whether or not Nava pinch-hit for Sweeney was not the only issue. Valentine also had right-handed hitters Mike Aviles and Kevin Youkilis who did not start the game -- on the bench. Either could have pinch-hit for Sweeney. The problem, Valentine said, was he did not have anyone to replace Sweeney in the field.
Of course, Valentine said. We didnt have another outfielder.
But, there would seem to be other options. Aviles played right field in winter ball in Puerto Rico this off-season (with the thought then that he would be competing at that spot). And Youkilis could have pinch-hit, take over first base, with Adrian Gonzalez moving to right field.