Pregame notes: Pedroia out with flu

BOSTON -- Have no fear, Dustin Pedroia’s right foot is not the reason he’s not playing in the series finale Sunday against the Houston Astros.

And, manager John Farrell isn’t giving Pedroia the day off because it’s his 31st birthday. The Sox second baseman is dealing with a nasty bout of the flu. He played with it during Saturday’s 10-7 win over the Astros, but when he arrived at the ballpark Sunday morning, he met with the medical staff and it was determined he should not play.

"He's got some flu-like symptoms going on. Felt it during the game last night, overnight it worsened to the point where he can't go today at all,” Farrell said.

Team doctors gave Pedroia antibiotics and sent him home.

“Hopefully this is a short-lived situation,” Farrell said.

During Friday’s 5-3 extra-inning loss to the Astros, Pedroia fouled a ball off his right foot in the third inning, but remained in the game until the ninth inning. He was in some pain, so Farrell took him out. Pedroia had a scan on his foot and results were negative. Despite some discomfort, plus dealing with the early stages of the flu, Pedroia played Saturday night and went 2-for-5 with two runs scored.

* Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli has been given the day off, so Kelly Johnson will play first and bat fifth in the order. Napoli is 4-for-9, with a double, RBI, four walks and three runs scored during this homestand.

"He's responded well to a day off inside a five-, six-day stretch. That's part of the rotation here today,” Farrell said.

This will be Johnson’s fourth game with the Red Sox, second game at first base, since arriving in Boston via trade with the Yankees in exchange for Stephen Drew.

* With the Red Sox bullpen already taxed, the club designated outfielder Corey Brown for assignment, and recalled pitcher Steven Wright from Triple-A Pawtucket.

“We’ve leaned on some guys out in that bullpen fairly regularly and when we have a couple of starts that go short, we need that length,” Farrell said.

This is Wright’s second stint with the Red Sox this season. The knuckleballer was

recalled on Aug. 3 but did not pitch before he was optioned back to Pawtucket after the game. With the PawSox, he’s 5-3 with a 2.76 ERA in 13 starts. He’s recorded 60 strikeouts and only 19 walks, while holding opponents to a .214 average.

* It’s evident Daniel Nava is locked in at the plate of late. On Saturday, he went 3-for-4 and now has multiple hits in three consecutive games. Since returning from Pawtucket on June 2, Nava leads the team with a .331 average (minimum 150 plate appearances) and a .399 on-base percentage.

"He's playing with a lot more confidence right now than he did in April at any point in time,” Farrell said. “Whether that's because of the consistency to the at-bats, when I looked up last night to see where the average is, it's more than doubled from the time that he was sent out and it's a testament to his work ethic and the quality hitter that he is, particularly left-handed."

Nava’s batting second and playing right field in the series finale against the Astros.