The Red Sox made a few roster moves prior to Thursday’s series finale with the White Sox, primarily to help the depleted Red Sox bullpen due to three consecutive poor starts by Red Sox starting pitching.
Daniel Nava was designated for assignment and left-hander Tommy Layne was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket. The corresponding moves had Jonathan Aro recalled and reliever Jean Machi activated after the Sox claimed him earlier in the week off waivers.
“We needed the space to get two fresh arms here,” manager John Farrell said. “Unfortunately for Daniel, whose story is an incredible one, the path that he’s traveled, there were some extended period of success for him here, but as opportunity diminished and the productivity was inconsistent the decision to designate him to make room was made.”
Nava was hitting .152 in 29 games with the Red Sox this season. He battled a thumb injury for most of the season, which Farrell said had an impact on his performance. Nava’s story is a unique one as he didn’t even make his college team at Santa Clara University. The Red Sox paid Nava’s Independent Ball team $1 for his rights back in 2007.
The switch-hitter made his major league debut in 2010 and became the fourth player in MLB history to hit a grand slam in his first major league at bat and the second to do it on the first pitch.
Things have gone downhill for him following the 2013 season where he hit .303 and played a major part in the Red Sox winning the World Series. Last season he hit .270 overall, but this was after spending time in Triple-A. Then this year, it’s been a struggle, partly because of the thumb.
“There were a couple of things,” Farrell said of his struggles. “I think at the beginning of ’14 there was some fundamental differences that maybe had him with a little bit more of an uphill path that when he went down to Pawtucket he was able to correct and came back last year and had a solid second half of the year for us. This year I thought he maintained some of those fundamental changes, but yet the production wasn’t there. As a result the opportunities started to diminish. There’s no question the thumb (injury) had an effect on his ability to repeat his swing. Those things combined never really allowed him to stay on track and him be the consistent hitter he was in 2013.”
Machi, who the Red Sox claimed off waivers from the Giants hasn’t pitched in 10 days, but Farrell said he is available out of the bullpen.
“He’s available tonight,” he said. “He threw a light bullpen here today. It’s been 10 days since he’s been in a game so there’s a little bit of a challenge bringing him in here given our situation where the need for innings is right away with his 10 days of inactivity. He’s been going through a throwing program, not competitively obviously while designated. We’ll see what he’s got available for tonight.”