In the last five games Red Sox starting pitchers have pitched a total of 24 2/3 innings, giving the bullpen 20 1/3 innings of work. For that reason, the team delayed activating right fielder Shane Victorino from the disabled on Wednesday, calling up right-hander Alex Wilson from Triple-A Pawtucket instead.
“Given the number of innings by our bullpen the last four or five days, we needed to add another arm, some help out there,” said manager John Farrell.
To make room on the 25-man roster for Wilson, Daniel Nava, who has struggled for most of the season, was optioned to Pawtucket.
“Felt like we needed to get Daniel Nava going again,” Farrell said. “His struggles at the plate I think are evident, just trying to get him back to being the player of confidence we’ve seen in the past.”
In 17 games, Nava was hitting .149 with two doubles and two walks, an on-base percentage of .240 and slugging percentage of .269. He had 17 strikeouts compared to six walks. A switch-hitter, Nava was hitting .174 from the left side, .094 from the right.
“Just feel like there needs to be more of a consistent two-strike approach,” Farrell said. “I felt like there are times he tried to hit with a little bit too much power rather than that hitter of average that will hit occasional home runs. And he needs to get some work on the right side of the plate as well.
“We’ve got to get a guy back that is pivotal to our success from a year ago, particularly from the left side of the plate. It’s going to take some time to get at bats to do just that.”
Farrell said Nava, not unexpectedly, was disappointed by the news.
“I can’t say it was disbelief,” Farrell said. “But it was disappointing message to deliver, given his role last year and the contributions. But in combination with the need of another reliever, while not liking it or maybe deep down not agreeing with it, he knew it was a necessity.”
Nava will play right and left field for the PawSox.
• Victorino could be activated tomorrow, Farrell said, but that will be determined after Wednesday’s game.
“We typically don’t carry eight relievers,” he said. “We’ll see how tonight goes.”
Victorino has been on the disabled list all season after straining his right hamstring in the final spring training game. He had been expected to be activated today, but that was put on hold with the need for a reliever.
• Farrell was asked if he expected Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda, tonight’s starter, to use pine tar on his hand, as it appeared he did in his last start against the Sox, on April 10 in Yankee Stadium
“I would expect that if it’s used, it’s more discreet than the last time,” Farrell said.
• Asked what he has seen from the Yankees bullpen with Mariano Rivera now retired, Farrell replied:
“[Pitching coach] Larry [Rothschild] obviously does a great job because they’ve had some turnover, they’ve had injures and yet they still pitch well above average,” Farrell said. “I think that’s as much of a testament to the ability of pitchers as it is to consistency to their overall program. They find a way to mix and match late. And it’s not necessarily left on right because we’ve seen for a number of years they only carry one left in the bullpen and the right handers do a very good job of attacking left handed hitters. And whether that’s [right-handers Adam] Warren, [David] Phelps, [Preston] Claiborne, right now, they’ve got stuff and they’re executing.”