Daniel Nava, Brandon Workman are back, but what does it all mean?

Rob Bradford
May 24, 2014 - 1:47 pm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Daniel Nava and Brandon Workman have both had their moments with the Red Sox. And it is because of that history that the pair found themselves back in the visitors clubhouse at Tropicana Field Saturday afternoon. Nava and Workman both made the trip from Syracuse Saturday morning in anticipation of being added to the Red Sox' 25-man roster. Nava replaced Shane Victorino, who was forced to the 15-day disabled list with another hamstring issue, while Workman will be activated Sunday to make the start against the Rays in the series finale. The righty is taking Felix Doubront's spot in the rotation. For now, they are fill-ins. But it would sure go a long way if each could be much, much more. To offer an update as to what each has been doing ... Nava has had some success against right-handed pitching with Triple-A Pawtucket, carrying a .263 batting average and .813 OPS. Overall, the switch-hitter totaled .745 OPS in 24 games with the PawSox. He also started playing center field on a regular basis. "I was feeling good," said Nava of his work with the PawSox. "I was obviously in a slump up here. to get down there and work and be with Joppie the hitting coach down there and focus on some things, just to get me back to where I feel comfortable, is something that was really good to have someone who'€™s seen me before and knew what it took to get me back to where I think I was in a better position than I was." Workman's numbers with Pawtucket since his demotion from Boston aren't all that impressive -- going 3-1 with a 5.12 ERA in seven starts -- but the combination of improvement of late, and a history of succeeding on the biggest stage, made the righty the choice to join the Sox' rotation. In his last start (May 17), Workman allowed three runs over 6 2/3 innings against Scranton Wilkes-Barre. The positive for the Red Sox in both players' cases is that each has shown at least the potential to make an impact. Nava represented a big reason why the Red Sox' didn't feel obligated to make major moves in upgrading their offense, having witnessed the 2013 season in which he hit .303 with an .831 OPS in 134 games. Still, Nava's first 17 games this season with the Red Sox (.149 batting average in 17 games) lingers enough to offer doubts regarding the emergence of a difference-maker. Workman has yet to hit an extended bump in the road in regard to his short big league career. In 30 appearances (56 2/3 innings) he has totaled a 3.81 ERA while striking out 58 and walking 19. His numbers as a starter are even better, managing a 2.45 ERA in three starts -- never allowing more than two runs while going at least six innings in each. In three relief appearances earlier this season, the righty allowed just one run on four hits over 6 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking one. "I feel like I'€™ve been throwing pretty well," said Workman, who was forced to start his Saturday with a 4 a.m. cab ride to the airport. "My numbers aren'€™tthe best right now but I feel like I'€™ve been throwing the ball better than thenumbers have shown and I feel pretty confident about it right now."