Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 10/21/14
Mlb-red-sox-blue-jays
Daniel Nava wasn’t even listed in the Red Sox’ media guide coming out of spring training in 2012. That won’t be the case this season, as he is proving his worth down in the Sunshine State. Nava got the Red Sox on the scoreboard in the second inning of Thursday’s game with a sacrifice fly to left-center field following a lengthy at-bat in which he worked the count full. It was the only RBI that Nava was credited for in the game, but one could argue that he was directly responsible for the five-run seventh inning that fueled Boston’s 6-1 victory over the Phillies. Michael Stutes came on to pitch the seventh for Philadelphia, and he got two quick outs before walking Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Nava came up next and extended the inning by earning a free pass, but it was the hustle he demonstrated after reaching base that proved to be a difference-maker. Jose Iglesias chopped a ground ball to Yuniesky Betancourt at short. Betancourt flipped to Freddy Galvis at second base for what would normally be an easy force out to end the inning. Nava was hustling all the way, though, and he beat out Betancourt’s flip, which allowed Matty Johnson — who pinch ran for Saltalamacchia — to come all the way around with Boston’s second run. A Shane Victorino bases-clearing triple and a Dustin Pedroia RBI double later, the Red Sox held a 6-1 lead that they’d never relinquish. It’s hardly the first time that Nava has made an impact this spring. Following Thursday’s game, in which he also added a single, the 30-year-old is hitting .325 (13-for-40) in Grapefruit League play. The real value, however, has been Nava’s typical willingness to play whatever role is required. It didn’t take long for Nava, who was expected to spend last season at Triple-A Pawtucket, to be called upon in 2012. He was called up prior to Boston’s May 10 game, and he ended up compiling 317 plate appearances in 88 games for the injury-plagued Red Sox. He hit just .243 in that span, but the switch-hitting outfielder had an on-base percentage of .383 in 222 plate appearances against lefties, proving he’s a solid option as a fourth or fifth outfielder. Nava has become more than that this spring, though. With the Red Sox needing a solid backup to the recently signed Mike Napoli, Nava has broken out the first baseman’s mitt and played 18 innings at a position he’s never played at either the major league or minor league level. Nava has looked fairly comfortable down at first base in his limited action, and the added versatility will give the Red Sox some more flexibility going forward. There’s a good chance the Red Sox will opt to keep Mike Carp and/or Lyle Overbay — two players who are also competing for the backup first baseman gig — but Nava’s willingness to play first base opens up more lineup possibilities for manager John Farrell. That’s important given David Ortiz‘s uncertain health status. Nava will always find it difficult to secure an everyday spot in the lineup, especially in Boston, where the talent level is so often high. But he’s proven in the past that he has the makings of a big leaguer, and this spring has only solidified that notion. This season’s media guide should reflect it. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Chandler Jones to miss a month with hip injury

Lance Briggs left Bears' locker room to avoid the fighting

Could the Seahawks have gotten more for Percy Harvin?

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series

Favre delays Lambeau return due to Bart Starr’s health

Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Fan in critical condition after being beaten before Bears game

Ben Roethlisberger rips the media

Tim Tebow: Gators don't have offensive leadership, lack heart

Colts punter asks Antonio Brown not to kick him in face

NFL: Luke Kuechly should not have been ejected

Report: Okla. St. players fell asleep in drive-thru, arrested

Royals fans sleeping during Game 1 loss at World Series

Matt Flynn had a blast at Pearl Jam concert

Report: Back injury could end Nathan Horton's career

Report: Ray Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups E – H

PHOTO: Fans place Manning’s 509 football in Hall of Fame

Jets sign Jeremy Kerley to $16M 4-year extension

10 teams that should try to trade for Yoenis Cespedes

Lego stadiums: turning a childhood hobby into a business

Bayless: Kobe's sexual assault trial gave him 'edge' and 'sizzle'

Blackhawks make leukemia patient's dream come true

College football's post-Week 8 Playoff projection

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report

Cowboys release Michael Sam

Bayless: Kobe's sexual assault trial gave him 'edge'

10 teams that should try to trade for Yoenis Cespedes

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series

Ben Roethlisberger rips media

NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Pistorius sentenced to five years

Lane Kiffin trashed in political ad

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.