Dustin Pedroia to miss last two games with finger injury

Dustin Pedroia (right), out because of a finger injury, and Danny Valencia get a close-up view of the Red Sox’ 10-2 loss.
Dustin Pedroia (right), out because of a finger injury, and Danny Valencia get a close-up view of the Red Sox’ 10-2 loss. –kathy willens/associated press

NEW YORK — The Red Sox season could not end without another injury.

Dustin Pedroia has an avulsion fracture of his left ring finger and is not expected to play in the final two games, according to general manager Ben Cherington.

Pedroia sat out Monday night’s 10-2 loss against the Yankees after X-rays taken before the game showed the break. He was injured sliding into second base in the eighth inning against the Orioles on Sunday.

Pedroia said his finger bent awkwardly on the corner of the base when he was thrown out trying to steal.

“I don’t think it’s too bad, but it’s bothering me,’’ he said.

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There is no reason to put Pedroia on the disabled list. But his injury adds to a record-setting list this season. In all, the Red Sox have had 1,485 games missed by players on the disabled list.

Pedro Ciriaco started at second base in place of Pedroia on Monday.

One bit of good news: Will Middlebrooks took batting practice on the field for the first time since fracturing his right wrist Aug. 10 when he was hit by a pitch.

Middlebrooks has progressed quicker than was expected with his injury.

Lavarnway ‘humbled’

Rookie catcher Ryan Lavarnway has looked overmatched at the plate since being called up from Triple A Pawtucket on Aug. 1. He has passed that off as the residue of focusing on improving his defense.

But on Monday, Lavarnway spoke candidly about his struggles.

“I feel humbled,’’ he said. “That really hasn’t happened to me before. Mentally, I’ve had to not get frustrated. I definitely have a lot of motivation for the offseason. I feel like as soon as this season is done, I’m going to be ready for the next one to start so I can prove myself.’’

Lavarnway entered this season having hit .283 over four minor league seasons with an OPS close to .900. He has hit for average and power at every step of his career, even winning the NCAA batting title as a sophomore at Yale in 2007.

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But Lavarnway is hitting .166 with a .479 OPS over 44 games and 157 plate appearances. He has struck out 36 times.

Part of it, Lavarnway admitted, is being tired. He has caught 105 games this season and the rigors of that position have worn him down.

“It is going to be a goal of mine to thrive through catching 110, 120 games instead of just surviving it,’’ he said. “Coming into this year, my goal was to catch 100 games. But I had no idea what it was going to take. I made it and I stayed healthy. But I’m tired.

“As much a possible, I want to get to this point and feel strong and still grinding. At this point next season, I want to be ready to play 20 more games in the playoffs.’’

The pitchers, Lavarnway said, aren’t fooling him. It’s his swing that is out of synch. He has been working every day to get that back with mixed results.

“My swing isn’t my swing,’’ he said. “I never found my groove this season, never found my rhythm. I had a month in Triple A I hit .400 and there wasn’t any power. I need to get back to being me.’’

Cherington isn’t too concerned. He has watched Lavarnway enough to know what kind of player he is.

“The track record is there and the work ethic is there. He has all the attributes,’’ Cherington said. “This experience will be a good one for him. He’s a very accountable guy.’’

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Ellsbury takes a seat

After sitting out six games because of a strained left lat muscle, Jacoby Ellsbury played against the Orioles on Saturday and Sunday. But the center fielder missed Monday’s game.

Manager Bobby Valentine offered a convoluted reason for Ellsbury’s absence.

“Ells hasn’t played in a long time. We’ve got the lefthander [CC Sabathia] out there and a big outfield. He’ll play the next two days, hopefully, if he’s feeling good,’’ the manager said.

Ellsbury is 6 for 28 (.214) against Sabathia in his career with nine strikeouts.

Phelps gets the call

The Yankees will start David Phelps on Tuesday instead of struggling Ivan Nova. Phelps, a 25-year-old rookie, has started two games against the Red Sox (Aug. 18 and Sept. 12) and allowed four earned runs over 12⅓ innings with 12 strikeouts. He has thrown 18⅓
innings in all against the Sox this season and allowed seven earned runs. Nova is 2-5 with a 7.05 ERA in 11 starts since the All-Star break . . . The Red Sox are 5-11 against the Yankees this season, getting outscored, 98-65, and have lost 14 of the last 20 in the series . . .
Alex Rodriguez’s sacrifice fly in the second inning gave him 1,950 RBIs in his career. That matched Hall of Famer Stan Musial for fifth place in history . . . Mark Teixeira has eight extra-base hits and 20 RBIs in 10 games against the Sox this season . . . The Sox are 16-40 since Aug. 1.

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