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Daniel Nava on playing time: ‘The point of playing is getting to the World Series’

10.21.13 at 4:06 pm ET
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Even though the Tigers featured all right-handed starters, Jonny Gomes displaced Daniel Nava in the Red Sox lineup for four of the six ALCS games. That he did so represented no fault of Nava’s, who hit hit .303 with a .385 OBP (fifth in the AL) during the regular season and who has reached in six of his 14 postseason playoff appearances (.429 OBP). Yet manager John Farrell suggested that the elements that Gomes introduces — whether running the bases, in the outfield or in the batter’s box — led to something of a hunch that he should go with Gomes’ intangibles over Nava’s sound offense.

It would be easy for Nava to bristle, given his offensive success. Yet the 30-year-old switch-hitter, during the clubhouse celebration that followed the Red Sox clinching their World Series berth, suggested that he takes no umbrage at Farrell’s decision.

“Jonny and I were talking about it today,” Nava said during the Saturday night/Sunday morning festivities. “We found it funny that the issue was being made about who’s playing, because the point of playing is getting to the World Series and winning the World Series. If skip throws Jonny out there, I want Jonny to go 4-for-4. And I know if I’m out there, Jonny’s dying to get out there, but we want to get to the World Series – which we have.

The roles, everyone’s jobs, everyone knows their jobs, sometimes they get a little mixed up, but if we win, that’s all that matters,” he continued. “If we didn’t want to get wins, we wouldn’t be here [in this position] because all the guys would be having problems with, ‘I’m not playing,’ or this or that. Playoffs come, everything goes out the window. You go with whatever you think will get you the win. Skip said, ‘It’s not like I don’t believe in you. I’m just going with a hunch and I’m going to roll with it.’  I said, ‘That’s fine. Let’s just win.’ ”

Farrell suggested on Monday that he is likely to stick with Gomes, given that the Sox are 6-0 in his postseason starts. He believes Nava will have a role in the World Series, but it appears it will be less defined than it was in the regular season, when the switch-hitter was a lineup staple against right-handed starters.

“He’s going to be involved in this,” Farrell said of Nava. “We haven’t made out Wednesday’s lineup yet, but can’t go away from maybe a little bit of momentum that a certain lineup has provided for us. Daniel Nava is certainly not forgotten. Nor is any guy. We talked about with Xander [Bogaerts] taking over for Will [Middlebrooks], I’ll let you know, very similar conversation with both guys, both with Daniel and Will, is that it will take contributions from every guy on this team to get where we want to go. That may be in a little different role than what you’ve been accustomed to in the regular season, but by no means does it reflect on how they’re looked upon or their value to us on a bigger picture.”

Nava, it would seem, sees that bigger picture fairly clearly.

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