Even after the Red Sox’ extra-inning loss, Daniel Nava still didn’t have a complete handle on the list of injuries that forced the Sox to tweak their lineup at the last minute.
When the day started, David Ortiz was out of the lineup for a scheduled day off. Mike Napoli was supposed to fill in at DH and Mike Carp was to step in at first. Carp took ground balls before the game, but as first pitch crept closer, he started to feel his back tighten up and ended up being scratched.
Then, minutes before game time, the Sox scratched Will Middlebrooks with a calf strain.
Nava didn’t ask any questions.
“I don’t know,” Nava said. “Maybe you guys know more than I do. I just knew that we had some guys that weren’t able to go when the game started.”
All he knew was that he was moving from left field to first base.
Having played there 19 times last season, it wasn’t foreign territory. But even though Nava had taken reps at first this year — as recently as Thursday — he went in cold.
“I think if I hadn’t played there at all it would be more challenging,” Nava said. “But since we still worked out and I took ground balls two days ago — that’s part of the game.”
After all the late lineup shuffling, the Sox rallied from a 6-2 deficit but ultimately fell, 7-6. Nava struggled at the plate, going 0 for 5, but was error free in the field with 10 putouts, including a lunging snare on a line drive from Jonathan Lucroy in the eighth inning.
Considering the circumstances going in, Nava said he took some satisfaction in the Sox climbing out of the hole.
“Obviously you want to win them all, of course,” he said. "But to say that we were almost able to pull this one out with a lot of moving parts still says a lot about this team. Yeah, we want to win that one but we didn’t get it done tonight.”
In five games, Nava has gone 2 for 22 at the plate while moving around in the batting order from leadoff to sixth to third, and in the field from left field to right field to first.
“That’s part of the game,” he said. “It happens sometimes. You don’t want guys to get hurt. You don’t want to anticipate that. But at the same time you have to be ready for those things and that’s one of those things that happen.’’
The Sox put together 11 come-from-behind wins a year ago, and after tying it at 6 in the sixth inning, Nava got the feeling they could start working some of that magic again.
“Of course I think what we did last year, we can learn from that and say we’re never out,” Nava said. “Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean that it’s not going to happen. But I know in this clubhouse no one’s worried. It’s just one of those games you would’ve loved to have had, being that you played so long.”Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.