There are a couple of things going on for the Pawtucket Red Sox as they face the Syracuse Chiefs — the PawSox are in a heated battle for the conference lead and, with the MLB roster expansion coming up, some Pawtucket players might find themselves in Boston come September.
But despite the possible implications of a late-season call-up, most Pawtucket Red Sox players aren't thinking about playing for the parent club.
"I don't even think about that stuff," Daniel Nava, one player who completed a stint with the Boston Red Sox last year, said.
Nava added that he's not thinking about possible playing time for Boston because it distracts from what happens on the field, and he'll be happy to perform whatever role is asked of him.
There's plenty of talent on Boston's Triple-A affiliate, and while some of the players — like Ryan Kalish, Felix Doubront, Lars Anderson and Kyle Weiland — have already tasted the big leagues, some of them have yet to play for the parent club this year.
There are players who have already seen major-league action, partly because of injuries to the regular Red Sox roster. But come September, those players won't need someone being shifted to the DL to play in the big leagues.
Outfielders Kalish and Nava might have an opportunity to come back to Boston once the active roster expands.
In 21 games with Pawtucket, Kalish is batting .220. Nava has played in 105 games for Pawtucket and has compiled a .264 batting average with eight home runs.
"I'm just trying to get healthy so I haven't worried about that too much," Kalish said of playing in Boston. "I know it's there, I know it's coming, but I haven't thought about it. We'll see what happens."
Pitchers Felix Doubront and Michael Bowden, who both appeared in a Boston Red Sox uniform earlier in the season, could also be in line for a call-up.
In six games for Boston this year, Bowden had an ERA of 1.29, while Doubront compiled a 6.75 ERA in three games for the parent club this season.
Bowden also said he hasn't thought about possibly playing in the major leagues again this year and that the upcoming roster expansion hasn't added any pressure to the team.
"We just keep doing the same thing we were doing all year," Bowden said. "I don't have any expectations… I'd be very grateful if I did get playing time, but you never know."
A few times this year players have been called up to Boston, including pitcher Kyle Wieland. More recently, there's Ryan Lavarnway, who was just called up when the Red Sox placed Kevin Youkilis on the DL.
For Weiland, who will be starting against Syracuse, there could be another chance to pitch for Boston on the horizon. In two starts with Boston, Weiland had an ERA of 8.10. While that might not seem impressive, Weiland has a .233 opponent's batting average and a 3.40 ERA with Pawtucket this year.
Down the stretch, depending on how the Red Sox are doing, they'll probably need to rest some starters, which should allow a few Pawtucket players to jump in and see some playing time. On Saturday, the Fenway Faithful will get a glimpse of what those players could potentially provide.