Nava scratched from Sunday's game with sore left hand

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Nava scratched from Sunday's game with sore left hand

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.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

BOSTON - The weight room, as much as Instagram, has been Pablo Sandoval’s home in the offseason leading up to the 2017 season.

His change in diet and routine have clearly led to visible results, at least in terms of appearance. His play is yet to be determined. But his manager and teammates have taken notice.

“Compliments to Pablo,” John Farrell told reporters before Thursday’s BBWAA dinner. “He’s done a great job with the work that he’s put in, the commitment he’s made. He’s reshaped himself, that’s apparent. He knows there’s work to be done to regain an everyday job at third base. So, we’ll see how that unfolds. We’re not looking for him to be someone he’s not been in the past. Return to that level of performance.”

Farrell noted that Brock Holt and Josh Rutledge are the other two players in contention for time at third base and while others, such as prospect Rafael Devers, may get time there in the spring, those are the only three expected to compete for the job.

“The beauty of last spring is that there’s a note of competition in camp,” Farrell said. “And that was born out of third base last year [when Travis Shaw beat out Sandoval at the third base]. That won’t change.”

Sandoval's 2016 season ended after shoulder surgery in April. 

While the manager has to be cautiously optimistic, Sandoval’s teammates can afford to get their hopes up.

“Pablo is definitely going to bounce back,” Xander Bogaerts told CSNNE.com “Especially with the weight he’s lost and the motivation he has to prove a lot of people wrong, to prove the fans wrong.

“He’s been a great player for his whole career. He’s not a bad player based on one year. Playing in Boston the first year is tough, so, hopefully this year he’ll be better.”

Prior to Sandoval’s abysmal 2015, his first season in Boston, when he hit .245 with 47 RBI in 126 games, the 2012 World Series MVP was a career .294 hitter who averaged 15 home runs and 66 RBI a year.

If Bogaerts is right and Sandoval can be that player again, that will be a huge lift in filling in the gap David Ortiz left in Boston’s offense.