By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox InsiderFollow @sean_mcadam
PHILADELPHIA - With slightly more than half a season remaining on his two-year deal, the Red Sox designated outfielder Mike Cameron for assignment on Wednesday.
Cameron, 38, has approximately 3.6 million remaining on the two-year, 15.5 million deal.
The Sox recalled Yamaico Navarro to take Cameron's spot on the roster.
Cameron was not in the lineup Wednesday despite the fact that the Sox were facing lefthander Cole Hamels. He arrived to the clubhouse later and met with both manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein.
Cameron was hitting just .149 with three homers and nine RBI in 33 games this seaosn.
"It's not a move we were looking to make necessarily,'' said GM Theo Epstein. "We were trying to strike the right balance, buying guys as much time as we could to let them get on track a little bit. Mike obviously has a great track record and even last year, when he
was hurt, he still raked left-handed pitching.
"The expectation coming into the year was that he would help us against lefties and it ended up being a tough adjustment for him to a role he wasn't that familiar with. We were trying to strike the balance between giving him enough time to get untracked and realizing that that's an area of the club where we might need to try something new.''
Epstein said the unavailability of third baseman Kevin Youkilis "forced our hand a little bit,'' since it left the Sox short on infield depth.
"We decided to go ahead and make the move now,'' said Epstein. "The timing was right. We want to thank Mike for all his hard work and battling through the tough injury he had last year. It wasn't easy. He played through a lot of pain last year and had a tough adjustment this year to a new role. I'm sorry it didn't work out. He's a great person.''
Epstein said the Red Sox "have been scratching their heads'' over Cameron's struggles at the plate this season.
"I'll take the hit on this one,'' said Epstien. "We try to be disciplined and look for players in their prime and sometimes you just can't do that. Mike was still a producitve player when we got him.''
Epstein traced Cameron's downfall to the abdominal-groin injury which first impacted the outfielder in the spring of 2010 and required surgery months later.
"Despite the great shape he keeps himself in,'' theorized Epstein, "(the age) made the recovery that much more difficult. He's a remarkable athlete and keeps himself in fantastic shape and worked his tail off on the rehab. There's a chance he goes somewhere else and snaps back into form and makes a huge difference for somebody.''
He added that Cameron was "used to being an everyday player. He's maybe going from 500 at-bats to 350 and then when he got off to a slow start, (his playing time) was reduced even more and it never came together for him.''
The Sox have 10 days to trade, release or assign Cameron's contract. Epstien said he had discussions with several teams in recent weeks, but surely his poor production and remaining salary made -- and will continue to make -- Cameron a tough sell.
As for Navarro, who spent part of September with the Sox last season, Epstein described him as having "a pretty potent bat against lefties. He's got a lot of bat speed, an aggressive hitter, can hit the ball out of the ballpark.''
Navarro can play short, second and third, and has been deployed some in the outfield this season at Pawtucket.
"He has limited experience out there (in the outfield),'' said Epstein. "He's done a nice job so far in a few games out in right field. In an ideal world, we'd have someone more experienced but he's a versatile guy and can hit lefthanded pitching and has a chance to help us.''