Nixon makes rehab start

Nixon makes rehab start

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- About the only thing that perturbed Trot Nixon during his Sunday rehab game with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox was that his uniform number, 7, was unavailable and he had to wear No. 6.

"[Dustin] Pedroia, he's a rookie, and he's wearing my number," Nixon quipped after going 1-for-2 with a sacrifice fly plus a walk and one RBI in four plate appearances during Pawtucket's 5-2 victory over the Rochester Red Wings.

"I ribbed him a little bit. I couldn't do it last year because [No. 7-wearing Earl] Snyder had about 58 home runs.

"He actually took off and went outside but, yeah, I ribbed him a little bit. He didn't want too much of it."

Rochester pitchers Boof Bonser and Brent Schoening basically saw more of Nixon than they would have preferred. Nixon, who suffered a strained left oblique muscle on July 26 at Tampa Bay, roped a 1-1 pitch by Bonser to center field for a first-inning single -- and then scored on a two-run homer by Kevin Youkilis.

With Luis Figueroa on third and one out in the second, Nixon yanked a fly ball to center field that was caught on the warning track for a sacrifice fly.

Bonser struck out Nixon, who batted leadoff, on three pitches in the fifth. Nixon drew a walk from Schoening in the sixth and then left the game for a pinch-runner.

Nixon also played right field. He caught three routine fly balls and handled two singles with ease.

"As for my oblique, everything felt fine," Nixon said. "I felt good in [right field] ... I caught a few fly balls, too. I felt reasonably comfortable at the plate. I'm happy with my day and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

"I'll DH tomorrow and get as many at-bats as possible."

After Monday's rehab game, Nixon is scheduled to join Boston in Kansas City on Tuesday, at which time his condition will be assessed and a determination made whether to activate him for the series against the Royals.

Nixon certainly isn't a stranger when it comes to playing rehab games for Pawtucket. Last season, he played a total of six games with the PawSox encompassing two rehab stints because of a herniated disk, a strained left quad and a torn left quad.

"Every player goes through some DL stints and they can be difficult at times," he said. "But you have to put things in perspective and be smart when you rehab so you don't spend more time on the DL I went through that last year, so I kind of learned my lesson. I listen to what the training staff wants me to do and stick with the program and not try to do too much with this injury."

The conditions surrounding Nixon's trip to Rhode Island were less than ideal.

He was scheduled to fly out of Los Angeles at 5:30 a.m. PT Saturday, but the flight was cancelled. After boarding another plane, he flew to Texas via Atlanta and eventually landed in Boston -- which added up to 7 1/2 hours of flying time. By the time he reached his apartment, it was 1:15 a.m. ET Sunday.

As a result, Nixon had no qualms about leaving the game during the sixth inning.

"I told 'RJ' [manager Ron Johnson] I didn't have anything left," Nixon said. "I really didn't. I had nothing left in my tank at all. ... I didn't have anything left in my legs. I felt fine as I rehabbed, but it was kind of a long day yesterday and you top it off with four hours of sleep and it makes it a little difficult."

Nixon's inability to be with Boston as the pennant race heads into the final weeks obviously is difficult from a mental standpoint.

"I'm anxious to get back out on the field and play," he said. "Through the wins and losses, it's boring being on the DL You can only do so much to get into the game. It will be good to get back there and suit up. Plus it's getting down to crunch time and obviously I want to be back and try to make a playoff run."

Preferably while wearing his No. 7.

Mike Scandura is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.