It was always going to be a longshot that Eduardo NA?A�ez would be a�?100 percenta�? for the ALDS. But Boston put him on the roster, and he even started at DH in Game 1 of the ALDS. Other than not playing at all, this appeared to be the safest play.
Unfortunately, his afternoon lasted one at-bat. While attempting to run out a grounder in the first, NA?A�ez appeared to re-aggravate the right knee injury which had kept him out for most of September. Then, in a moment you never like to see, he’d be carried off the field.
Should he have been playing? It’s easy to second-guess that now. But Red Sox manager John Farrell isn’t joining in:
a�?No regrets, because everything that we had, everything we had available to us, we accomplished those steps, the way he felt, trying to get another bat back in our lineup that I think we needed… No, no regrets with the way things have unfolded here.a�?
NA?A�ez went after Justin Verlander’s first pitch, and even he was surprised by what happened next:
a�?I didna��t expect that… We do a lot of treatment, a lot of simulated games. We do everything we can to be ready and obviously now we know my kneea��s not ready yet.a�?
Going forward, we shouldn’t expect him back anytime soon. And if this series only goes three games, it’s hard to imagine NA?A�ez returning at all. Farrell added:
a�?But I think it’s pretty safe to say, given how he went down today, he would not be available.a�?
Since joining the Red Sox at the deadline, NA?A�ez had slashed .321/.353/.539 (.892 OPS) with 12 doubles, eight dingers and six stolen bases in just 38 games. His likely replacement, Hanley RamA�rez, went 2-for-3 in Thursday’s Game 1. If Hanley can keep hitting like thata��great. If not, NA?A�ez is a big miss as this series rolls on.