ST. PETERSBURG -- For the second time this season, Shane Victorino has been placed on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain. That setback created an opportunity for Daniel Nava to return to the Red Sox in time for Saturday afternoon's game against the Rays.
Nava was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket on April 22 after a prolonged slump wiped away the memories of his breakout season of 2013.
"I'm obviously thrilled to be back," said Nava. "I was doing a lot of things wrong [earlier in the year]. I think it was a combination of not putting the ball in play as much as I'd like to, putting it in play at guys who had been playing that position, that spot for a long time, and just struggling. Throw that all together and it was what it was."
In Nava's first stint with the Red Sox this season, he hit .149 in 67 at-bats. Nava did not start Saturday's game against Rays lefty David Price. He will get most of his starts against right-handers.
As for Victorino, he aggravated his hamstring hustling down the line on a bunt in the ninth inning of Friday's 1-0 loss.
Manager John Farrell doesn't think the injury is as serious as the one that took place in the final Grapefruit League game on March 30.
"We still think it's not as severe," Farrell said. "But with the other situations we're also managing, his was the most clear-cut in need of some downtime. So he's on the DL."
For Pawtucket, Nava hit .253 with three doubles, three homers and 14 RBIs in 24 games.
"I was feeling good [with Pawtucket]," said Nava. "I was obviously in a slump up here. To get down there and work and be with [Dave] 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."
Though Nava is open about the fact he feels the Red Sox could have given him more time to break out of his slump, he also took ownership for his hitting woes.
"Obviously I didn't want to get sent down. Obviously I would have liked to have stayed up and worked through it," said Nava. "In the same regard, if I wasn't doing what I was doing, it wouldn't have happened. If you're going to be proud of what you did, you have to take responsibility. If I didn't do that, maybe I wouldn't even be back here."
Of course, Nava's story has already had its share of ups and downs, dating back to when he couldn't even make his college team at first.
"If it was my first time dealing with something like this, it would have been a lot tougher. I've been on this side of the fence before, many times. That made it a lot easier," said Nava. "It doesn't make it any more enjoyable. It's still something, you want to be here. this is where you want to be. but having that said, it makes it a little easier because I've been here before, I know what it's like.
"Getting sent down was obviously a good wakeup call, but it's also a reminder that there's a lot worse things you could be doing than not playing baseball. I'm grateful I still have a job to be playing baseball. I was playing co-ed softball at one point, so I guess I could be doing that all over again."