Toronto, ON, CANADA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Daniel Nava (66) doubles against the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth inning at the Rogers Centre. Boston defeated Toronto 7-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE
It's bound to happen over the course of a 162-game season, but with the way injuries have poked holes in the Red Sox lineup this year, it's difficult to be relaxed about even minor aches and pains even when you know you should. That's why seeing that third baseman Kevin Youkilis and outfielders Ryan Sweeney and Daniel Nava are all dealing with injuries is scarier than those particular hurts suggest it should be.
Youkilis was hit by a pitch on Tuesday night, and sat out of Wednesday's contest because of it. Supposedly, he's fine now, but there were concerns beforehand, with manager Bobby Valentine saying he was, "rotationally restricted." By the end of the game, Youkilis claimed he was ready to come in on defense if necessary, so no X-rays were taken to check for damage.
Nava has missed four-straight games thanks to pain in his hand that necessitated a cortisone shot. His left hand is improving, to the point where Valentine says that Nava might have been able to pinch-hit if they were in need of one while in the midst of interleague play. But the switch-hitter, who is at .298/.429/.489 and second on the club with a 149 OPS+, wasn't feeling well enough to start in the series finale against Miami. Instead, Sweeney played.
Valentine didn't want Sweeney in the game, though, as he is dealing with his own issue, in the form of discomfort in one of his toes. The hope was to let him have both Wednesday and the off day on Thursday to recover, but with Nava already out and the team still missing it's actual outfield, it came down to Sweeney's toe being less problematic than Nava's hand.
These kinds of injuries are bound to happen over the course of a full season, and much of the time, you don't even hear about them. Had Boston not already been dealing with an outfielder on the roster who couldn't play, it's likely Sweeney's toe issue would have been kept under wraps.
Seeing all of this at once is also a reminder that the occasional off day -- something the Red Sox haven't had much of to this point -- is a good thing for a team that's constantly moving and playing. With that in mind, maybe the extra day off in Chicago today is all this trio needs to get back to where they belong.