Daniel Nava was one of the Red Sox’s best hitters last season, batting .303 with 12 homers, a .385 on-base percentage, and an .831 OPS in 134 games, but he’s off to a 10-for-67 (.149) start this year and Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that Boston has decided to demote him back to Triple-A.
Boston benched Nava regularly throughout the playoffs in favor of Jonny Gomes, so it’s perhaps not a huge shock that they’re unwilling to give him a longer leash now. Still, at age 31 and coming off a very good season as a lineup regular the move to the minors is definitely a surprise.
Shane Victorino being on the verge of returning from the disabled list allows the Red Sox to make a change in the outfield, where they’ll presumably go with Victorino, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Grady Sizemore as the regulars and use Gomes versus left-handed pitching. And it seems likely that a few teams will give the Red Sox a call to see if Nava is available in trade.
The Yankees’ 2019 run ended in heartbreak on Saturday night when, despite a stunning ninth-inning comeback, they fell 6-4 to the Astros and officially lost their bid for the AL pennant. Now, facing a long offseason, there are a few decisions to be made.
One of those falls on the shoulders of outfielder Aaron Hicks, who told reporters that he “thinks he can continue playing without Tommy John surgery.” It’s unclear whose recommendation he’s basing that decision on, however, as MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch points out that Tommy John surgery was recommended during the slugger’s most recent meeting with Dr. Neal ELAttrache.
Hicks originally sustained a season-ending right flexor strain in early August and held several consultations with ElAttrache and the Yankees’ physician in the months that followed. He spent two and a half months on the 60-day injured list and finally returned to the Yankees’ roster during the ALCS, in which he went 2-for-13 with a base hit and a Game 5 three-run homer against the Astros.
Of course, a handful of strong performances doesn’t definitively prove that the outfielder is fully healed — or that he’ll be able to avoid aggravating the injury with further activity. Granted, Tommy John surgery isn’t a minor procedure; it’s one that requires up to a year of rest and rehabilitation before most players are cleared to throw again. Should Hicks wait to reverse his decision until he reports for spring training in 2020, though, it could push his return date out by another six months or so.