Daniel Nava, one of the key players for the Red Sox last season, was summoned into the office of manager John Farrell after Tuesday’s 9-3 loss against the Yankees.
With the Red Sox in desperate need to supplement their overworked bullpen, they are expected to call up a pitcher from Triple A Pawtucket before Wednesday’s game.
Allen Webster, the scheduled starter for Pawtucket, is a candidate along with Alex Wilson. Both are on the 40-man roster.
With right fielder Shane Victorino expected to come off the disabled list on Thursday, the new pitcher could be a temporary salve. But either way, Nava appears to be the player forced off the roster.
Nava has a minor league option remaining. Or the Red Sox could place him on the disabled list.
Nava is 10 of 67 (.149) this season with a .240 on-base percentage. The 31-year-old hit .303 with an .831 OPS last season.
“He’s probably swung the bat a little bit more earlier in counts than we’ve seen in the past and that might be some reflection of the current level of confidence,” Farrell said. “When he’s squared up some balls, he hasn’t seen the fruits of that too much.
“Like all players, they go through a little bit of a peak and valley and we’re trying to get him out of that right now.”
Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. also has options. But the Red Sox have indicated their best outfield alignment could be Bradley in center with Victorino in right and Grady Sizemore in left.
It seemed telling that with New York pitching righthander Masahiro Tanaka on Tuesday, Farrell went with righthanded-hitting Jonny Gomes in left field instead of Nava, a switch hitter who has been better in his career batting lefthanded.
It also was the second time in four games Nava did not play.
Sizemore is a concern as well. He was 0 for 4 hitting leadoff and is now 1 of his last 26. Sizemore is hitting just .213 and has a .613 OPS. He also has been slow to react to plays in the outfield.
Napier brings heat
University of Connecticut All-America guard Shabazz Napier, who led the Huskies to the NCAA basketball title this month, grew up in Roxbury rooting for the Red Sox but attended only a few games when he was young.
He returned to Fenway as a champion, throwing out the first pitch with his teammates behind him. Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut also was on the mound.
“It’s so surreal, it’s so sweet,” Napier said. “Red Sox playing the Yankees and I’m throwing out the first pitch. It’s amazing.
Napier worked on his throwing with teammate Tyler Olander back at UConn and threw a fairly hard pitch to David Ross.
“He was teaching me to throw curveballs and I said I just wanted to keep it simple,” Napier said.
Napier said being from Roxbury helped him achieve what he did.
“I want people to know I’m not only from Boston, I’m from Roxbury and the inner city. If you give a kid a chance, good things can happen,” he said. “All kids don’t understand that, but I was able to understand that.”
Farrell, while not an avid basketball fan, followed the Huskies’ title run.
“What was impressive was that the momentum they seemed to find late in the season and the confidence in which they played with,” he said. “They played with an awful lot of confidence and you could see there was such momentum regardless of the seeding that they had. There was nothing that was going to stop them.”
The UConn women’s basketball team, which also won the NCAA title, was invited to attend the ceremony, but canceled earlier in the day.
Prior to next Wednesday’s game against Tampa Bay, the Red Sox will honor the Bentley University women’s basketball team, the undefeated Division 2 national champions.
History against them
The Red Sox began the day 9-11, and the Elias Sports Bureau pointed out that no team in franchise history has made the playoffs after being below .500 through 20 games.
“There’s a first time for everything,” Farrell said before the game. “We’ve got 142 to go and tonight is Game 1 of those 142. I understand what you’re talking about with history, but we did some pretty special things with this group [last year] and we’re confident we will again.”
John Lackey, who faces the Yankees on Wednesday, pitched very well in his first two games of the season, allowing two earned runs over 13 innings. But in two starts since, he gave up 12 earned runs on 20 hits over 11 innings.
That included a poor start against the Yankees in New York on April 12. In a 7-4 loss, Lackey gave up six runs over 5⅔ innings and four home runs, his career high.
Farrell said Lackey has worked with pitching coach Juan Nieves and found some issues to correct.
“We don’t get into specifics, but I think there were some things we discovered that are a little bit different than last year,” Farrell said.
Lackey’s average velocity is roughly the same as last season, with his fastball peaking at higher speeds than a year ago. Farrell said it’s been more a matter of location.
Michael Pineda starts for the Yankees. He pitched well against the Sox on April 10, allowing one run on four hits over six innings and striking out seven.
Dempster an analyst
Former Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster has joined the MLB Network as an analyst. He will make his debut Wednesday, providing coverage of Wrigley Field’s 100th anniversary celebration.
Dempster, who turns 37 next month, left the Red Sox in February, citing physical and personal reasons. He has not officially retired and is on the restricted list.
Dempster was 8-9 for the Red Sox last season.
The Yankees activated closer David Robertson off the disabled list before the game. He was out with a groin strain . . . Farrell on whether Jon Lester, an impending free agent, has been distracted by his contract status: “He trusts the people that he works with and he trusts those in the front office here. There’s a lot of smart people that will get this figured out. He’s doing a very good job of staying committed to the pitch he’s trying to execute in the moment. I give him a lot of credit for that. I think every effort is going to be made to make sure that Jon remains in a Red Sox uniform. We’re hopeful that takes place at some point.” . . . The five unearned runs the Sox allowed were their most since Aug. 23, 2012, when the ragtag Bobby Valentine-led Sox allowed six against the Angels . . . The Red Sox are 4-7 at home . . . Dustin Pedroia has six doubles in seven games since getting a cortisone shot in his left wrist April 14 . . . The Sox have scored two runs in the first inning all season. Their first batter of the game is 2 for 18 and the team is 13 of 74 (.176) in the first inning . . . Chris Capuano, who threw 2⅓ scoreless innings of relief, has not allowed a run in 13 innings this year.