Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 3/22/13
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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Bubba Watson's caddie owns heckler at PGA Championship

NFL denies sending Donald Trump letter about schedule

Michael Bennett calls out NFL stars for not speaking up on social matters

Nationals make astute move in acquiring Melancon

Son of former NFL player Antonio Armstrong charged with death of parents

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Texans GM 'disappointed' in DeAndre Hopkins

Can Andre Johnson end his regression in Tennessee?

Favre opens up about painkiller addiction during career

Miami women’s basketball coach criticizes Texas A&M following slideshow

Twin Cities preparing for influx of sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII

WATCH: Bautista bat flip will be available as NHL 17 celebration

Former USMNT, current MLS forward Davies battled cancer, in remission

The definitive guide to U.S. Men's Basketball at Rio 2016

Tony Romo training camp picture leads to fat jokes, concern

Matt Cullen’s family eats cereal out of the Stanley Cup

Texas A&M suspends coaches for sexist slideshow

10 most dangerous college football defenders in 2016

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker