Daniel Nava: ‘I don’t care if I hit ninth, it doesn’t matter’
|02.20.14 at 10:43 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — With all of the speculation and talk concerning the leadoff spot in the order, Daniel Nava was mentioned as a potential candidate by manager John Farrell recently.
Farrell clarified his position on Wednesday, saying the job of batting at the top of the order is still under consideration, with Jonny Gomes possibly getting a look because of his on-base numbers against left-handed pitching.
Since joining the Red Sox in 2010, Nava (who turns 31 on Saturday) has grown accustomed to sitting back and letting things play out on their own and then going about his own business, not worrying about things he can’t control.
“I’m not going to change my approach because I think my approach is kind of similar to what a leadoff guy is,” Nava said Thursday, before hitting the field for the team’s first full-squad workout. “Obviously, the first time around, that’s where you’re a leadoff hitter and after that the situation dictates what kind of at-bat you take. I’ve been there before. If they want me to do that, then whatever they need.
“I’m pretty comfortable. It’s the only only organization I know so hopefully, five or six years in, I would feel comfortable. The Red Sox do a great job of [mixing in] the minors with the big leagues and letting you feel as if you’re part of an organization and a team, and that’s what I feel pretty grateful that I’ve experienced.”
In 2013, the switch-hitting Nava had a very impressive .411 OBP in 120 games against right-handed pitching, and for his career that mark stands at .390. Nava, one of the most humble players on the team, poked fun at his stature (5-foot-11) and his lack of eye-popping speed.
“I’ve got to get faster. I’ve got one of those two things,” Nava said of his small size but lack of blazing speed. “I’m little. Carlos Pena was a leadoff guy and he hits home runs. Certainly, there’s a little more room for flexibility. If that’s where they want me to hit in the lineup, as long as I’m in the lineup, it’s good for me. I don’t care if I hit ninth, it doesn’t matter.”
Nava did start eight games last year in the leadoff spot but more often he hit fifth or sixth, with 77 of his starts coming in the middle of the order.
Farrell said Wednesday that he is now more likely to consider keeping Nava in the 5-hole this season
While Nava would certainly be a candidate from the left side of the plate against righthanders, Farrell opened the door Wednesday to the possibility of Jonny Gomes (.377 career OBP vs. LHP) as a leadoff hitter against lefties.
Whatever happens, Nava said the main objective is to move on to 2014.
“I think a lot of us look to last year as something we can draw upon but last year is last year and it’s time to move on; 2014 is right here, it’s upon us, 2013 was great but it’s time to look at 2014 and that’s obviously why we’re here,” Nava said.
“I think a lot of guys are excited because it’s a new year and there’s a lot of things [new]. There’s been some turnover but I think there a bunch of guys who are excited to see how it’s going to play out together as a team, and that’s kind of where we were last year with walking on the field with new guys [wondering] what’s going to happen. I think it’s good though. It’s a positive thing. It’s not snowing.”
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