Given all the players who have resided on the disabled list this season, that Dustin Pedroia left Monday’s game against the Tigers with a jammed right thumb was worrisome to the Red Sox.
Pedroia was not available for comment after the Red Sox’ 7-4 victory. But manager Bobby Valentine, general manager Ben Cherington and his teammates believed the second baseman did not suffer a serious injury.
Pedroia was injured in the fifth inning when he made a diving stop of a ball hit by Danny Worth.
Ranging far to his left, Pedroia stopped the ball, scrambled to get up and made the throw to first to end the inning. Nick Punto replaced Pedroia when in the sixth inning.
“It’s just swollen. You can tell there’s something there,’’ Valentine said.
Cherington said the initial examination wasn’t alarming. If anything, Pedroia could miss a game or two.
“Right now I don’t think he’ll play tomorrow if I was a betting man. But don’t bet on it,’’ Valentine said.
Shortstop Mike Aviles was more hopeful.
“I guess his thumb was jammed pretty good. It worked out well, he got a couple of innings off,’’ he said. “Pretty sure he’s going to be in there tomorrow. There’s not many people who can stop him from getting back in that lineup.’’
Ryan Sweeney started in center field and was 3 for 4 with a double and two runs after missing seven games with a mild concussion.
“My body’s a little tired right now because I haven’t played in a week,’’ Sweeney said. “Other than that, everything feels great.’’
Sweeney was injured May 19 in Philadelphia while making a diving catch in center field. He came away with whiplash and a mild concussion. He dealt with symptoms for three or four days afterward and went on the new seven-day concussion disabled list.
The trainers are still monitoring the amount of his physical activity. Sweeney took batting practice before the game but did not lift weights afterward as he usually does.
“I just need to get back into baseball shape,’’ Sweeney said. “Get some at-bats and hopefully start feeling a little better.’’
Sweeney never anticipated suffering a concussion making a catch.
“I dove, I didn’t hit anything,’’ he said. “I’ve dove for hundreds of balls. They said it just depends on how you hit and the way your brain hits instead of your head when you do hit. It’s a freak thing.’’
Sweeney dived to stop a ball in the third and threw out Worth at second base when he tried to stretch a single.
“You can’t be afraid,’’ Sweeney said. “It’s part of the game.
Bard takes on Verlander
The Sox, who have again reached .500, will face the fearsome Justin Verlander (5-2, 2.15 ERA) tonight. He is 3-2, 2.78 in eight career starts against the Sox.
Of greater concern is how Daniel Bard pitches. He is 4-5 with a 4.69 ERA and has mysteriously walked more (29) than he has struck out (28).
Bard said Monday his bullpen session was productive and he is hopeful of having more life on a fastball that has so far been unimpressive.
Bard has not been able to put the ball by hitters like he did out of the bullpen.
“He can pitch effectively [at a lower velocity]. But again, is it him?’’ Valentine said. “You want someone to feel good about themselves and I think he feels good about himself when he can throw the ball fast when he wants to.
“Otherwise he’s something other than what he might think of himself. I’m not speaking for Daniel. I’m speaking as an observer and as a coach, manager.’’
Aviles dropped down
Aviles was dropped to ninth in Valentine’s latest lineup with Daniel Nava hitting first. Aviles came into the game with an on-base percentage of .284, 76th among qualified players in the American League.
Aviles also was 2 for 20 with one run in the previous five games. He was 2 for 4 with a run and two RBIs against the Tigers.
Aviles had hit leadoff 33 times since Jacoby Ellsbury went on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.
“I’d love to have a traditional on-base guy in front of the guys who hit home runs and everything,’’ Valentine said. “But when you’re making due with what you have, I don’t mind a guy who can do some damage up there.’’
Valentine indicated Aviles would be out of the leadoff spot again Tuesday, but will return there Wednesday.
Nava was 1 for 5 with a run.
Kalish continues rehab
Ryan Kalish was 1 for 4 in his third rehab game for Single A Salem. He is at the early stages of building up after recovering from shoulder surgery . . . Carl Crawford (elbow, shoulder) has been swinging a bat for three days and is up to 40-50 swings in the cage . . . Jacoby Ellsbury is playing catch, which really isn’t that significant. He injured his right shoulder and he throws lefthanded . . . Aaron Cook is throwing again after the cut on his left knee re-opened and delayed his return . . . Cody Ross (fractured left foot) is not yet engaged in baseball activities. “It feels really good,’’ he said. “I’m not really having any problems with it.’’ . . . Rehabbing Darnell McDonald (strained right oblique) went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts Monday in Pawtucket’s 6-4 loss to Norfolk . . . Valentine did not sound a hopeful note when asked if he expected Daisuke Matsuzaka to get healthy and help the team this season. “I don’t have a firm date nor an exact expectation what I’m going to see when that happens,’’ he said.
Trot Nixon, his uniform jersey clean for once, was recognized before the game and threw out the first pitch to former teammate David Ortiz.
Nixon was with the Sox from 1996-2006, hitting .278 with an .845 OPS. He retired in 2009 after stints with the Indians and Mets and a spring training tryout with the Brewers.
Nixon returned to his native North Carolina after playing and coaches his sons, 10-year-old Chase and 7-year-old Luke, in baseball and football.
“I stay active on the field pretty much,’’ he said. “Sometimes I feel that’s where I need to be. Sometimes I need to take a step away from it because I’m a little too passionate about it.’’
Nixon is working on a limited basis for the Indians advising prospects. Once a blue-chip quarterback prospect, Nixon also presents high school football highlights on a local television station.
Nixon recently spoke to another former teammate, Manny Ramirez. They connected via Scott Emerson, a friend of Nixon’s who is the pitching coach for Triple A Sacramento. Ramirez is playing there while awaiting the end of his 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs.
To make room for Sweeney on the roster, outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin was optioned to Pawtucket. Lin is for 1 for 5 over six games this season . . . Who says the umpires aren’t good guys? Jeff Nelson, Bill Welke, Chris Guccione, and Tim Tschida will visit Boston Children’s Hospital Tuesday morning with Wally The Green Monster to hand out stuffed animals and spread some cheer. The Umps Care program has organized 66 children’s hospital visits in various cities since 2006 . . . Adrian Gonzalez has hit in eight straight games . . . On Memorial Day, the Red Sox honored 27 team employees who served in the armed forces. The group included traveling secretary Jack McCormick and team historian Dick Bresciani. Two of the employees - Jim Hinds of Walpole and Eugene Brundage of Framingham - are veterans of World War II.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com.