Nunez says he’ll be ready for playoffs
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.”