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Red Sox Notebook

Navarro does in a pinch

Shortstop Marco Scutaro took the high road to avoid the Astros’ Chris Johnson and complete a fourth-inning double play, one of three by the Red Sox. Shortstop Marco Scutaro took the high road to avoid the Astros’ Chris Johnson and complete a fourth-inning double play, one of three by the Red Sox. (David J. Phillip/Associated Press)
By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / July 3, 2011

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HOUSTON - Yamaico Navarro said his first round-trip tour of the base paths was not likely to be forgotten after he hit his first major league home run in last night’s 10-4 victory over the Astros.

But it might not have happened if he hadn’t found his batting helmet in time to hit for Andrew Miller in the seventh inning.

“That was Scutaro,’’ Navarro said, calling out shortstop Marco Scutaro for hiding his helmet in a good-natured prank. “But, really, everything is all good. I was looking for my helmet and he hid it from me. But everything was good.’’

Or that’s how it turned out after Navarro, who was called up from Triple A Pawtucket Thursday after outfielder Mike Cameron was designated for assignment, unloaded on Astros starter J.A. Happ to give the Sox a 5-2 lead.

“He’s an interesting kid,’’ manager Terry Francona said of Navarro. “He can play short, he can play third, he can play second, he can play the outfield. We’ll play him [today]. We’ve got kind of a weird schedule the next couple of days and so we’ll play him at short and get him a few at-bats and hopefully he can help us win the game.

“He’s got some sock in his bat, that’s for sure.’’

Navarro has appeared at six positions with the PawSox this season and hit .258 with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 5 homers, 13 RBIs, 25 runs, and 17 walks in 34 games. He hit .293 (12 for 41) vs. lefties.

“I was really happy to be able to get my first home run here,’’ Navarro said. “It was my first, but I hope it isn’t going to be my last.’’

Ortiz will manage David Ortiz said Francona has it easy when it comes to filling out his lineup card for the Red Sox.

“He knows who he’s going to play every day,’’ Ortiz said. “He has an idea of the number of guys he plays, so he knows what his lineup is going to look like.’’

Ortiz, on the other hand, has discovered it’s not so easy making his captain’s selections for the Home Run Derby July 11.

“I’ve got to pick three guys from all of the best players in the American League,’’ said Ortiz, whom Francona penciled in at first base for last night’s game against the Astros.

As the designated captain of the AL’s contingent in the derby, Ortiz said he has been given a small glimpse into what Francona does on a daily basis.

But he said his job is a little more complicated. Yesterday, Ortiz said he had been informed to consider candidates from other teams, meaning he might have to eschew selecting Adrian Gonzalez.

“Can you believe that?’’ he said. “I’m the captain and they’re telling me who I can’t pick.’’

Asked if was indeed thinking about Gonzalez, Ortiz said, “I know he can hit for power, so I’m thinking about it.’’

He’ll be honored With the balloting complete, the AL and NL teams will be revealed today and there’s every expectation that Gonzalez will be selected as a starter on the AL squad.

It would mark the fourth consecutive All-Star appearance for Gonzalez, but first in a Red Sox uniform.

“Yeah, it would be great to represent the Red Sox,’’ said Gonzalez, who leads the majors with 74 RBIs, 200 total bases, and 46 extra-base hits after going 3 for 5 with an RBI and three runs last night. “It’s always great to make it to an All-Star Game. I always thought an All-Star Game was something that was unbelievable, but it’s a halfway point. It’s the stats at year’s end that really count.

“You can have a great first half, make the All-Star team, and then just plummet and at the end of the year and not do anything,’’ he said. “So it’s great to go, but there’s still a second half to be played.’’

‘Productive day’ Francona reported that Carl Crawford, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list June 18 with a left hamstring strain, began hitting yesterday. “Crawford hit on the field early, which was a first, which was good,’’ Francona said. “After we met, he ended up running 70 percent. So he’s building. It was a real productive day.’’ Said Crawford, “Everything went OK with the hitting. It felt OK.’’ . . . Francona said Clay Buchholz, on the DL since June 19 (retroactive to June 17) with a lower back strain, played catch yesterday. “We’ll see how he reacts from there,’’ Francona said. “He might be down a couple of days before he starts a throwing progression, but we’ll see how he reacts.’’ . . . Shortstop Jed Lowrie, on the DL since June 17 with a left shoulder strain, said he took groundballs yesterday and had been throwing the last couple of days . . . The top four hitters in the Sox’ lineup last night combined to go 10 for 19 with three RBIs and seven runs. Dustin Pedroia, Gonzalez, and Kevin Youkilis had three hits apiece . . . The Sox improved to a major-league-best 48-28 since their 0-6 start.

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