NEW YORK -- In the midst of a 1-for-18 slump, shortstop Mike Aviles was not in Boston's starting lineup for Sunday night's rubber match of a three-game series against the Yankees.
Instead, the nod went to Pedro Ciriaco, who drilled three hits as the DH on Saturday, including the game-winning hit.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that the main motivation for the move is that Aviles has been dealing with a painful turf toe injury that also led to his not starting a home game on July 21.
"I'm trying to get Mike's toe where it should be," said Valentine. "We thought we had it in a situation that was comfortable, but it's less than comfortable, so I'm hoping only a day. But we'll see how he feels tomorrow."
Valentine didn't dispute that the injury has coincided with Aviles running through a rough patch at the plate.
"Oh yeah, absolutely," Valentine said. "It's affected his batting. I mean, he's been coming off of it so early, you know? But he's been gutting through it, and he's wanted to play and every time he's been asked, and he says he's fine. Finally, I saw him after the game yesterday and talked to him."
As for Ciriaco, he has done nothing but thrive since being added to Boston's roster on July 6.
Ciriaco is hitting .356 with no homers and seven RBIs in 59 at-bats. In particular, he has thrived against the Yankees, going 10-for-18 with five RBIs and seven runs scored in four games entering Sunday's contest.
"You know, I'm just trying to do my best every time I get a chance to play, and I'm trying to help the team every time I get a chance," Ciriaco said. "I'm just trying to help us win some ballgames, because that's all anyone cares about around here."
The 26-year-old Ciriaco has spent most of the last 10 seasons in the Minor Leagues. He did play in 31 games for the Pirates over that span.
But Valentine has clearly taken a liking to him dating back to Spring Training.
"This is the first time in my career I've had a chance to play like I've been playing this year," Ciriaco said. "Last year, I was with the Pirates, but I didn't really get a chance. I have to take advantage. They believe in me. and I'm trying to do my best every time."
Valentine: Surgery for Crawford not a certainty
NEW YORK -- Following Saturday's somewhat controversial day off, left fielder Carl Crawford was back in Boston's lineup for Sunday night's finale against the Yankees, batting second.
Valentine stated that he sat Crawford on Saturday because the medical staff wants the left fielder to get a rest after playing roughly four games in a row. Crawford said that Saturday morning was the first he had heard of it.
Crawford has said a couple of times that he will need Tommy John ligament transfer surgery in his left elbow as soon as his 2012 season ends.
But there seems to be some confusion about that also.
"Well, once again, and I heard what Carl said, I've never been told that he needs an operation," Valentine said. "I don't think that's a definitive situation."
In his Saturday session with reporters, Crawford noted that his elbow hurts every day. However, that doesn't mean he wants the days off prescribed by the medical staff.
"I would think that would give you guys a better understanding of why the medical staff thinks he should be rested every periodic time," Valentine said. "But it's a very simple thing. It bothers him, and you don't want it to get to the point where it's intolerable. It made sense to me. And we're hoping that it's going to hurt less and bother him less, and that's why we have a prescribed program."