Mike Hazen on D&C: ‘Daniel Nava’s going to be back here hitting again’

April 24, 2014 - 6:05 am
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Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to discuss Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda'€™s use of pine tar and other updates about the Red Sox. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Home plate umpire and crew chief Gerry Davis said after Wednesday night'€™s game that he had not seen the substance on Pineda'€™s neck until Red Sox manager John Farrell alerted him to it. "The manager doesn'€™t have to [alert the umpires]," Hazen said. "The umpire can certainly go out there and initiate it. I don'€™t think the umpires are staring at the starting pitcher on those types of situations." Wednesday'€™s incident marked the second time Pineda was caught with a foreign substance on his skin while playing the Red Sox this month. "I don'€™t know if that crew was made aware of the situation that happened last time," Hazen said. "Maybe they weren'€™t, maybe they hadn'€™t. Obviously, our coaching staff was more aware of it after what had happened the first time. I'€™m sure they were watching for it a little more closely, so I think it's more -- had it maybe gone on for multiple innings, maybe the umpires would have looked at it, but I don'€™t think it'€™s the first thing you look at if I'€™m an umpire or whoever'€™s standing on the field. I'€™m watching the game." After Tuesday night'€™s 9-2 loss to the Yankees, the Red Sox optioned Daniel Nava to Triple-A Pawtucket. Nava was hitting .149 with a .240 OBP and a .269 slugging percentage at the time of the demotion. "Unfortunately, I think it became more of an obvious thing as we went into it," Hazen said. "Certainly what Daniel had done for us last year -- this guy was one of the best hitters in baseball last year, and I don'€™t think that'€™s an overstatement given the skills he had at getting on base. "Daniel'€™s been through this before. We took him off the roster last time, and he resurrected himself again. He'€™s too good of a hitter unless he'€™s hurt, which he'€™s not, or he'€™s forgotten how to hit, which he hasn'€™t. Daniel Nava'€™s going to be back here hitting again." Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox. On finding a leadoff hitter like Jacoby Ellsbury: "We didn'€™t set up to really replace Jacoby Ellsbury. I think when we look at the lineup, we'€™re trying to get as many of the best hitters that get on base as much as possible at the top of the lineup. Do we have a 50-stolen-base guy at the top of the lineup? No, and we didn'€™t replace a 50-stolen-base guy at the top of the lineup, so that element of what Jacoby did at the top of the lineup is missing. "We look at the lineup in different ways, though. There are different ways to skin a cat on this, and, really, what you'€™re trying to do, like I said before, is put as many guys at the top of the lineup that are going to get on base for [David] Ortiz and [Mike] Napoli because those are the guys that are going to score the runs. The way our ballpark plays and the amount of power we have in the middle of our lineup, there are more ways than just stealing a base and hitting a single. When we start knocking balls around -- which we haven'€™t done with any regularity yet -- once we start knocking balls around the field a little bit more, those are two- and three-run homers as long as those guys get on base. And that'€™s the biggest key, is getting guys at the top of the lineup who are going to get on base." On Clay Buchholz: "I just don'€™t think he'€™s gotten the finish yet on his fastball. Yeah, I mean, look, the velocity'€™s always played for him up and down. Some days he'€™s good when he'€™s 89-92, and there'€™s been days where he'€™s stepped on it a little more and he'€™s been 92, 93, 94. He has never really been a big velocity guy ever since he got up from the minors into the big leagues. He'€™s really started to manipulate the ball, the fastball, and that'€™s really what makes him what he is. ... I don'€™t think it'€™s a physical issue from an injury standpoint, but he hasn'€™t gotten that last couple of inches on the fastball to beat hitters -- to sink a little quicker or a little later when it gets to the plate -- causing guys to roll over and hit a lot of ground balls. We haven'€™t seen that yet. We think that'€™s going to come."
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