TORONTO ó Bobby Valentine said he was only trying to cobble together a run for starting pitcher Jon Lester in Sunday's 5-0 loss to the Blue Jays when he decided to make the unusual move of sending Daniel Nava in to pinch-hit for Jose Iglesias in the seventh inning in the middle of his at-bat.
"Just trying to get a run for Jon, obviously,Ē Valentine said, explaining his rationale for lifting Iglesias after Pedro Ciriaco reached on a two-out single to left and stole second.
"Told Daniel if [Ciriaco] steals second, youíve got it. Otherwise, I was all set to play defense,'' Valentine said. "I was pinch-hit for with the bases loaded, 3-2 count, and it didnít ruin my confidence. I talked to [Iglesias]. Heíll get over it. He said, 'Whateverís right for the team.' "
Said Iglesias: "Itís pretty unusual, but he made a decision. He tried to do whatís best for the team, and I respect that decision."
With the Red Sox engaged in a scoreless stalemate against the Blue Jays, Iglesias worked the count to 2-and-2 against reliever Brandon Lyon when Ciriaco stole second. It was at that point Valentine lifted Iglesias, who struck out looking and flied to right in his two previous at-bats, in favor of the switch-hitting Nava, who had been hitting .217 with runners in scoring position.
Nava grounded back to the mound to end the inning.
"I was told to be ready,íí Nava said, when asked if he was surprised to find himself pinch-hitting for Iglesias in the middle of his at-bat. "Anyone who is on the bench, you know you got to be ready. I didnít know the exact details when I could be going in, but if a guy comes off the bench, it doesnít matter if itís a new at-bat, fresh count, or in the middle Ė obviously, something Iíve never done before Ė but you still have to be ready.íí
Asked if he felt for Iglesias in that situation, Nava replied, "Oh, yeah, totally. But I think we were in a situation; it was a 0-0 game and we were trying to get a runner across. Iím sure Iggy was feeling like he normally does if he stayed in there. You donít want to be that guy. Itís unfortunate for him that I was unable to get a knock and that it didnít work out.íí
Iglesias, who has started 10 of the last 18 games, was hitting .071 after going 2 for 28 in 26 games since his Aug. 25 call-up from Triple A Pawtucket.
"I donít think it was a make-or-break situation," Valentine said. "Heíll have an opportunity to get some hits. Itís not kindergarten here. You donít think it was a good decision. So what? I think it was the right thing to do to try to win a game for a [pitcher] whoís busting his butt out there."