Hermida returns, to start against righties

Hermida returns, to start against righties

SEATTLE -- The return to health of the Red Sox is far from complete, but the team did get another player back on Thursday, as outfielder Jeremy Hermida was activated from the disabled list.

The left-handed hitter, who has been out with fractured left ribs since June 10, will start against right-handed pitchers. Lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched for Seattle on Thursday and southpaw Jason Vargas goes Friday night, so Hermida's first start will likely be Saturday against David Pauley. In the meantime, he gives manager Terry Francona a solid pinch-hitting option.

"It's never fun to be hurt, especially to sit back and watch so many guys go down," said Hermida. "But I'm happy to be back and excited to be back and I'll contribute in any way I can."

To make room for Hermida on the roster, the Red Sox optioned outfielder Daniel Nava to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Nava made a memorable introduction to the Red Sox, becoming the second player in Major League history to belt a grand slam on the first pitch of his career, on June 12 against the Phillies.

In 91 at-bats for the Red Sox, Nava hit .286 with one homer and 16 RBIs. It was a strong showing for a player who was in an independent league before signing a Minor League deal with Boston in 2007.

"Really professional hitter," Francona said of Nava. "The one thing we kind of told him, and I guess it shouldn't surprise me but it does, and maybe I'm getting old, we try to impress upon young guys when they come here, how much urgency there is in our games. I think young guys, they see the games on TV, it looks nice. Then they get in the dugout, and I think it surprises them. I think that was a big surprise for him.

"It was like, 'Hey, every play means a lot. When you're coming up through Double-a, Triple-a, you make a mistake, it's development. Over here, it's on SportsCenter.' I think it took him a little time to figure that out but he's a good hitter. Hopefully, he'll take this time with us and he'll take it and grow because he can hit a little bit."