Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Mlb-red-sox-blue-jays
When Daniel Nava is presented with a new opportunity, he really goes all in. Nava hit a grand slam against the Yankees on the first pitch he ever saw in the majors in 2010. On Monday, he capped off his first ever Fenway Park home opener with a game-winning, three-run home run against the Orioles. Monday’s Opening Day heroics only add to the wild journey that is Nava’s career. Nava went undrafted out of college and signed with the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League, before eventually joining the Red Sox organization in 2008. From there, he bounced around the Sox’ farm system until his memorable big league debut on June 12, 2010. Since that midseason call-up back in 2010, Nava’s career has only gotten crazier. Not only did he not appear in a game for the Red Sox in 2011, but he was an afterthought coming out of spring training in 2012. Nava arrived in Boston last season only when the injury bug reared its ugly head. 2013 has been much different, though. Nava enjoyed a fantastic spring training, and his versatility forced the Red Sox to keep him up with the big league club out of camp for the first time in his career. Now, he’s making an impact, although he hasn’t lost sight of the path he’s taken to get to where he is. “It’s been a good journey,” Nava said after Monday’s game. “Obviously it’s not over. A lot of stuff’s happened. 2011 was a good season just to learn from I guess failing again. So to have what happened last year to get called up was something that I think meant a lot more than the first time because I had to go through some obstacles to get back, and the first time was pretty much success the whole way. So it was good to experience that. “It made me just really grateful to have another chance, another opportunity to play, so I try to keep that mentality this year. And hopefully whatever happens in the future, that’s something I don’t forget.” Nava is becoming a very valuable ingredient to the Red Sox’ recipe for success. He can play first base in addition to the outfield, and the switch-hitter is drastically improving from the right side of the plate. Over the course of his baseball career, Nava has generally fared much better from the left side of the plate against right-handed pitching, but things are suddenly starting to even out a bit. That could mean more opportunities for Nava to find himself penciled in to manager John Farrell’s lineup card. Nava reached base three times on Monday, as he had a single and a walk prior to launching the game-winning bomb. That speaks to the consistency of his at-bats, and he may keep seeing more of them if his hot-hitting ways continue. No matter how much playing time Nava gets going forward, though, it’ll be difficult for him to top Monday’s home run in terms of his most memorable moments. “It was special just because it was Opening Day and Opening Day is a special experience just to begin with,” Nava said. “For me, it’s special just with the journey and stuff that I’ve taken. Obviously I wasn’t trying to hit a home run. It just worked out like that. But to contribute and get us a lead in a tight game after [Clay Buchholz] pitched well is something that I think anyone who stepped into the box in that situation was looking to do.” It’s that type of mentality that has transformed Nava from a fringe player to a legitimate major leaguer. There should be a lot more firsts for the 30-year-old going forward. 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

Daxter Miles’ Twitter mentions light up after Kentucky blowout

Ortiz: 'Nobody in MLB history' tested for PEDs more than me

Sam Dekker scores career high after Aaron Rodgers' challenge

Brey Day: Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight after a vintage performance

Ronda Rousey on having kids: 'I'm an ovarian goldmine'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Pedro Martinez: Rose should be allowed in Hall of Fame

Pablo Sandoval 'cut things off at the root' with Giants

Scott Boras taking shots at Cubs' history over Kris Bryant

Kingdome debt finally paid off 15 years after demolition

49ers waive Jonathan Martin

Former MLBer Curt Ford assaulted, told to ‘go back to Ferguson’

Five bizarre NFL offseason moves that don't add up

Texas to Rick Barnes: Change your staff or you will be fired

First 'National Fantasy Football Convention' to star Tony Romo

Teams that don't deserve to win Connor McDavid Sweepstakes

How a basketball-themed art exhibit changed perceptions

Bucs admit they’ve been getting calls about Mike Glennon

The last Expo standing

NHL ships nets which have room for cameras inside posts

Toronto Raptors limping into the playoffs

Best picks ever at every spot in first round of NFL Draft

Alonzo Mourning confirms “Who wants to sex Mutombo?”

CC Sabathia attempting to get healthier by getting … fatter?

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

Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight

The last Expo standing

Five under-the-radar AL MVP candidates

Michigan sent recruit's GF a letter

MLB teams that could disappoint

25 years ago, the best Sweet 16 of all time was pure madness

The 2015 bad quarterback carousel

17 facts to know before the Sweet 16

Agent: Sam was horrible at veteran combine

Keeping judo ‘pure’ in Europe means keeping MMA out

The Sweet 16 should be seen as success

On the Browns, Hard Knocks, questions and narratives

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.