Red Sox notes: Nava called up; Byrd in outfield

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Red Sox notes: Nava called up; Byrd in outfield

BOSTON Manager Bobby Valentine touched on various topics before the start of the Red Sox four-game series with the Indians Thursday night:

Outfielder Daniel Nava was called up, with right-hander Clayton Mortensen optioned to Pawtucket, and left-hander Justin Thomas designated for assignment. Nava is in the starting lineup, playing left field.

Our outfielders have really been put to task playing as much as they have been and another left-handed bat to spell our right-handers I thought was necessary and Daniels been real hot, said Valentine. I had great reports on him from Triple-A Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler and everybody whos seen him play and it seemed like the right choice.

I dont know that Clay could have done more. At about 4:45 this morning when I called him into my office I told him baseball and life isnt fair and nowhere does it say it has to be fair and this isnt fair to him. he pitched plenty well enough to be on this staff but he has an option and we needed a spot and luckily hes the kind of professional guy that understood it totally.

Asked his thoughts on Marlon Byrds outfield play, Valentine responded:

Hes gotten really good jumps on a lot of balls. It just seems thereve been a few balls that hes caught up with that he hasnt caught. I havent seen the misdirection.

On one ball hit over his head I thought he did have an awkward first step, straight back, but then he got back to it. The ball missed his glove. And Im not sure what to attribute that to. Hes playing very hard though. Hes giving us everything he has.

Valentine said what minimal discussion there had been about possibly moving third baseman Will Middlebrooks to the outfield has been tabled.

There really wasnt a lot of conversation about that. There was a couple of guys who had mentioned it. it was never a formal 'lets put this into play' conversation.

I suggest that its not an option at this time.

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?