Saturday June 12, 2010 | 06:13 AM

Finished writing my Sunday column Thursday night, looking at the top 20 prospects of the season, so far. I included 27-year-old outfielder Daniel Nava, even though the Red Sox never considered him a prospect - because his numbers cannot be ignored. He leads Pawtucket in average/HR/RBI: .294/8/38.

Apparently, Boston could not ignore Nava. According to soxprospects.com, he will be called up today to join the major league team, replacing Josh Reddick, who will be sent back.

All the signs point to the move. Nava was pulled from the PawSox lineup Friday. And late Friday night, Reddick's locker at Fenway was clean out, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.

Nava is a great underdogs story: could not make his college baseball team so he became the manager and washed the uniforms; transferred to a junior college and became an All-American; returned to his original college, Santa Clara and played well, but was not drafted; played independent ball until the Red Sox signed him.

Nava hit at every level he played in, including a .364 average in 32 games with Portland last year.

The Red Sox have been making a lot of moves lately, with Jeremy Hermida on the DL (another casualty of a collision with Adrian Beltre) and Jonathan Papelbon activated ... Reliever Scott Atchison was summoned back from Pawtucket while Joe Nelson was designated for assignment.

Nelson, 35, who pitched for Portland in 2004, never got it going this year. He allowed runs in 5 of his 8 appearances and had an ERA of 9.72. Nelson is indicating he may retired. One of the good guys in the game, Nelson looked to be done several years ago but then made a nice career of it.

In the minors, two Pawtucket pitchers who made my Top 20 list (back to plugging my Sunday column) relieved for one inning apiece. Dustin Richardson (2.78): 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K; Robert Manuel: all zeroes.

Outfielder Bubba Bell (.268) had two hits.

Casey Kelly (another of the Top 20) pitched five innings for Portland (5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K).

The Salem trio (all in the Top 20) of Oscar Tejeda (.335), Will Middlebrooks (.296) and Ryan Lavarnway (.296) all had two hits.

Catcher Dan Butler did not make my list, but maybe he should have. Butler, 23, watched last year's draft and did not see his name come up. The Red Sox signed him later and now he's one of the leaders in Greenville. He had three more hits on Friday and is batting .313.

The Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka play the FOX game today against the Phillies.

The AL East: Tampa Bay 39-22; New York 38-23 (1 back); Boston 36-27 (4 back)

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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