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Daniel Nava on his base-running blunder: ‘I just stopped thinking’

07.20.13 at 10:13 pm ET
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Robinsoin Cano applies the tag on Daniel Nava to end the eighth inning. (AP)

Robinsoin Cano applies the tag on Daniel Nava to end the eighth inning. (AP)

Daniel Nava knows better. He knows it. John Farrell knows it and everyone who has watched him play over the course of the last three seasons knows it.

But Saturday was one of those rare moments where a highly unusual play caught him off guard mentally at the very worst time. With one out and the Red Sox down just 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Nava stood at first base when Dustin Pedroia popped a foul behind home plate. Yankee catcher Chris Stewart made a lunging play into the stands and caught the ball.

Nava, who had seconds earlier been reminded by first base coach Arnie Beyeler to stay put with David Ortiz on deck, decided to take off for second on the most unusual of tag plays. Stewart caught the ball then caught himself before firing a one-hop strike to second to nail Nava and end the inning and Boston’s hopes on the day.

“Hindsight, I wouldn’t have done, just based off the situation and based off we had Papi on deck,” Nava said, falling on the proverbial sword. “You see a guy go into the stands, you think you can take the base. That’s a time when even if you can take a base, I shouldn’t have taken the base because it just changes the dynamic of his [Oritz] at-bat and he would’ve still come up. Looking back, I wouldn’t have done it, and he made a good play, and obviously, that exposes it all the more.

“Right before the play happened, I was actually told, ‘don’t go anywhere.’ And then I just stopped thinking when the ball was hit in the air and that’s unfortunate because late in the games, you need to be on top of stuff. That was one of those times that I wasn’t on top of what I need to be on top of, which is just those little things. It happens but it’s unfortunate that it happened then.”

Nava made a point to say that Beyeler was doing his job by reminding him.

The pitch before, he said, ‘you’re not going anywhere, you’re not going anywhere, understand the situation.’ I said, ‘Yeah, totally.’ Then that was a play that doesn’t happen,” Nava said. “I should’ve applied it to that and I just didn’t, and that was my fault.

“Of course, it’s easier [in hindsight] but the coaches were doing their job and letting me know. As soon as the ball was hit and popped up, I turned things off and reacted. He made a good play, no doubt. Good play on the catch, good play on the throw but you have to have a little more awareness than that. It was something to learn from. I would go back and I would change it if I could.”

That was the second base-running boo-boo to end an inning on the day for Nava. He tripped around third base in the bottom of the first trying to score on a two-out Ortiz single to left.

“I don’t know,” Nava said. “I just came around third and didn’t have firm footing that I wanted to and it would’ve still been a closer play but who knows what would’ve happened if that didn’t happen.

“I knew that I was going based on two outs. The play happened right in front of me. I was surprised to see where Vernon was playing, it was right there but you have to send someone in that situation with two outs. He made a good play, a good throw. But unfortunately, it was a rough one for me on the bases but I’ll learn from it. It happens.”

Nava, always a stand-up guy, tried to be as philosophical as possible afterward.

“I think it’s the game of baseball. You play so many games, you have to let them go or else you’re not going to be able to get to the next one. I talked to some of the coaches because I wanted to know what they had to say. I knew pretty much what they would have to say but still you want them to echo thoughts and ideas. You move on because you know were going to get another situation like that and be in another spot like that.”

Read More: Arnie Beyeler, Boston Red Sox, daniel nava, David Ortiz
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