Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/4/14
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

Cam Newton calls out 'classless' Panthers fans

Report: 49ers to part ways with Harbaugh after season finale

Brad Stevens shoots down rumors he's headed to Hoosiers

Jameis Winston cleared in code of conduct case

Sherman: Patrick Peterson would be benched on Seahawks

Fans struck by lightning after Buccaneers-Packers game

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Philip Rivers playing through painful back injury

Report: Bears could have interest in Jim Harbaugh

Report: Shanahan interested in coaching next season

Report: Michigan has its eye on several NFL coaches

Report: Titans, Jay Cutler have mutual interest in trade

Phillies GM told Ryan Howard team is better off without him

10 takeaways from NFL Week 16

Tony Romo leads Dallas Cowboys to NFC East title

Ole Miss QB arrested after fighting, threatening bouncers

WATCH: Marshawn Lynch's ridiculous TD run

WATCH: Steelers' Gay draws flag for taunting teammate

WATCH: Three players ejected after Giants-Rams fight

WATCH: Dominic Raiola stomps on Bears player's ankle

WATCH: Arian Foster throws TD pass, drops scoreboard taunt

WATCH: Johnny Manziel leaves with injury after taking big hit

NHL has warned 22 players about diving

Nick Mangold wears NYDP hat to honor fallen officers

Five things we learned from the first day of bowl games

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

10 takeaways from NFL Week 16

Cam Newton calls out 'classless' Panthers fans

Raiola stomps on Bears player's ankle

Bears interested in Jim Harbaugh?

Shanahan to return to 2015?

Browns interested in drafting Mariota?

Mullen wears funny Christmas sweater

RG3 returning to Redskins?

Tom Izzo hot after bad loss

Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

WATCH: DeSean mocks Eagles

Vick: Winston is the future of the NFL

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.