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Jackson involved in run-in in right field

Sox right fielder Conor Jackson crashes into the bullpen wall in the third inning, injuring his right knee and left wrist. Sox right fielder Conor Jackson crashes into the bullpen wall in the third inning, injuring his right knee and left wrist. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)
By Nick Cafardo
Globe Staff / September 5, 2011

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Welcome to right field at Fenway Park, Conor Jackson.

The new Red Sox infielder/outfielder, courtesy of the Oakland A’s, ran into the right field wall on Ian Kinsler’s long drive in the third inning, hitting the half-wall and making a few body parts sore enough to have to leave yesterday’s game.

Jackson, who knocked into a double play in the second inning and is now on an 0-for-25 streak, likely will need a couple of days to recover from a bruised right knee and sore left wrist and forearm.

Kinsler’s drive was one of three Rangers triples in an 11-4 win over the Sox. Jackson stayed in the game following a visit from trainer Mike Reinold, but he exited in the top of the fourth when he tried to loosen up his knee by riding a stationary bike and doing some sprints in the clubhouse tunnel.

“It didn’t feel good,’’ Jackson said. “I wouldn’t have helped the team at that point. Going into the game I hadn’t played in six or seven days. I needed those at-bats and that’s the most frustrating part for me.

“It knocked the wind out of me at first. The initial pain was in my wrist. Two seconds after that my knee was pretty numb. I hit it pretty hard.’’

He described the play as “ball hit in the gap and it carried a lot more than I thought. I was on the go. Usually, when you know a ball is going to go far you take five or six steps and then know when to stop before you hit the wall. First day out in right field, I’m not gonna hold up on a fly ball. I was pretty close to catching it, but I feel like I ran into a truck. I came up quick and I don’t have a ton of experience in right field at Fenway. I’m gonna try to catch that ball every time.’’

Lavarnway debate Ryan Lavarnway traveled with the team to Toronto last night and will be active for this afternoon’s tilt with the Blue Jays.

Lavarnway is hitting .290 with 32 homers and 93 RBIs between Portland and Pawtucket and in 23 at-bats in his first go-around with Boston, hit .304 with three RBIs.

Lavarnway will create interesting debate. The Sox really have no spot for him at catcher even next season if Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek return, which both are expected to do. Lavarnway’s only chance of playing would be if designated hitter David Ortiz doesn’t re-sign.

There will be great debate within the organization as to whether to keep Lavarnway on the major league roster so he can improve under catching coach Gary Tuck, or send him back to Triple A where he can catch every day.

The Sox likely will give Lavarnway some righthanded pinch-hit at-bats and may even rest Ortiz against a tough lefty. While Lavarnway and Yankees catching prospect Jesus Montero are in similar situations, at least the Yankees have a possible remedy for Montero with the DH spot that will be vacated when Jorge Posada calls it quits after this season.

Deep thoughts Mike Napoli’s crushing homer in the ninth off Michael Bowden off the back wall of the bleachers in center drew the attention of the Red Sox.

“I’ve never seen one hit there,’’ said Ortiz. “I’ve hit one in BP and Manny [Ramirez] hit one there in BP. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone hit a ball in that spot in a game in the years I’ve played here.’’

Varitek thought Frank Thomas once did it with the White Sox.

Francona’s ratings Defense is not accurately measured in numbers. That’s how manager Terry Francona sees it.

Even though Boston’s defensive numbers - ultimate zone rating and defensive efficiency - are among the best in baseball, Francona doesn’t put much stock in them.

“To be honest these ratings . . . some confuse me,’’ Francona said. “I know they’re trying to evaluate defense without just looking with the naked eye. Some of them - even UZR when you look at some of these ratings - it’s a little suspect. I don’t know. I don’t think it’s a problem when you see your guys every day. We know what they can and can’t do. It [ratings] helps when you see a guy three or four times a year.’’

In assessing his defense, Francona said, “I think our outfield has been pretty athletic. Jacoby [Ellsbury] being healthy is huge. Carl [Crawford] in left is good. Whoever we’ve had in right whether it be J.D. [Drew], [Josh] Reddick, or Mac [Darnell McDonald], has been solid.

“Gonzy [Adrian Gonzalez] is a really good first baseman. Pedey [Dustin Pedroia] is as good as you’re ever gonna find. [Marco] Scutaro is a guy when he’s out there makes the average play. Youk [Kevin Youkilis] at third has been huge for us because he’s been able to go to third. Our catchers have done terrific. Take away the first two weeks of the season and Salty [Jarrod Saltalamacchia] has been one of the better throwers.’’

Injury report Reddick sat out yesterday’s game after being hit in the hand with a pitch Saturday. “He’s really sore,’’ Francona said. “We’ll stay away from him today and have him concentrate on the ice and all the things he needs to hope he can calm it down and have him available tomorrow.’’ . . . Jed Lowrie, who left the game with a sore shoulder Saturday, was also held out. “Jed is doing OK,’’ Francona said. “Certainly more precautionary. Nip it before it got worse. I think we did that. Sometimes you just don’t want to go too far with guys.’’

Being aggressive Francona commented on Sox pitchers leading the majors in hit-batsmen. “It’s probably an indication we need to pitch aggressively or these big strong guys are gonna kill you,’’ he said. “And then there have been times where they haven’t commanded. We feel the need to pitch in and aggressively or you get beat up.’’ Yesterday’s starter John Lackey and reliever Alfredo Aceves have been two of the biggest culprits. “[Aceves’s] stuff is so good. He doesn’t always throw the ball where he’s trying to. If you go back and look at video it doesn’t always follow the glove and he’ll scatter a fastball or two. And maybe that’s good. Maybe guys don’t get real comfortable there,’’ said Francona . . . The manager raved about Mike Aviles. “We’ve enjoyed the way he’s played shortstop,’’ Francona said. “He’s a little bit better baserunner than we expected.’’ Francona said he picks Aviles over Lowrie to play shortstop when both are in the game because “Aviles is quicker. Jed’s best position is third base, so it makes sense.’’ Francona also said the team will continue to work with Aviles on playing right field.

Positive signs Sign day was a big hit at Fenway. Fans seemed very respectful of not holding them up to block anyone’s view. Most of the signs were directed at the players and Sox broadcasters Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo . . . Ex-Sox Bill Monbouquette and Johnny Pesky were in attendance . . . Peter Woodfork, a former Sox executive now working for Joe Torre’s staff for Major League Baseball, was at the game . . . The Rangers’ Adrian Beltre had his 2,000th hit in the sixth inning.

Nick Cafardo can be reached at

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