Nunez says he’ll be ready for play­offs

Boston Herald - - BASEBALL SCOREBOARD - By CHAD JEN­NINGS Twit­ter: @chad­jen­nings22

Five days ago, Ed­uardo Nunez wor­ried his sea­son was over. He’d caught a spike, twisted his right knee and ag­gra­vated the sprained pos­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment that had al­ready cost him two weeks on the dis­abled list.

He wasn’t sure he’d play again this year.

By last night, Nunez was con­vinced he’d be ready for Oc­to­ber.

Af­ter sprint­ing in the out­field, tak­ing ground­balls at sec­ond base, and tak­ing bat­ting prac­tice on the field — with his spikes on — Nunez said his in­jured knee felt the best it’s been since he hurt it on Sept. 9.

He won’t play this week­end, but Nunez is cer­tain he’ll be avail­able for the play­offs.

“Much con­fi­dence, less pain,” he said. “I run faster. I move bet­ter right now. But ei­ther way, we won’t try to play this week­end. It’s out. It’s out of the plan, be­cause we don’t want to gam­ble. We don’t want to take a risk. I feel so much bet­ter, I feel so good, so we want to make sure I feel 100 per­cent for the play­offs.

“They need me to play third, short, sec­ond — wher­ever they need me, you know? So, make sure I’m healthy. We don’t want to take a risk again.”

Nunez thought he was ready af­ter run­ning the bases af­ter bat­ting prac­tice on Sun­day morn­ing in Cincin­nati, but when he re­turned Mon­day night, he re-in­jured him­self on a swing in his sec­ond at-bat.

“I was ner­vous,” he said. “It was re­ally painful. We were scared, but we know that (with a sprained) PCL, you don’t need surgery. You don’t need that kind of thing, but it was so painful, so we thought maybe I wouldn’t come back this year.”

Af­ter four days of re­newed re­hab, though, Nunez has no more wor­ries. And man­ager John Far­rell said he doesn’t need to see Nunez in an­other reg­u­lar sea­son game to trust him in a play­off game.

“We’ll put to­gether some sim­u­lated ac­tion Mon­day or Tues­day in work­outs here,” Far­rell said. “So that’s not a con­cern as far as whether or not he’s avail­able next week.”

How ex­actly the Red Sox use him, though, seems still up in the air. Against left­ies, Nunez could slide in as a des­ig­nated hit­ter, but that’s as­sum­ing Han­ley Ramirez can play first base. Against right­ies, Nunez’ sig­nif­i­cance might be as an al­ter­na­tive to Dustin Pe­droia, who’s been hob­bled by his own knee is­sue.

While there’s no ob­vi­ous spot for him on the field, it’s hard to over­look the fact Nunez has hit .321 with eight home runs in 38 games since be­ing ac­quired from the Giants at the end of July.

“Yes, we’ve missed Nuney,” Far­rell said. “We miss the of­fense. We missed Pedey (when he was hurt). But hope­fully we’re soon to get things back in or­der.”

Nunez, for one, is con­vinced his avail­abil­ity will be back in or­der as soon as the post­sea­son be­gins.

“Oh man, (yes­ter­day) was re­ally good,” Nunez said. “That was the best day dur­ing the process, the re­hab. (Yes­ter­day) was the best day so far.”

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