For Red Sox Rookie Daniel Nava, Second Time's the Charm... So Far

Shane O'HalloranContributor IIIMay 13, 2012

BOSTON, MA - MAY 12:  Daniel Nava #66 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after he scored a run against the Cleveland Indians in the fourth inning at Fenway Park May 12, 2012  in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

For 29-year-old Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava, the journey to the big leagues has been no cakewalk.

As a call-up in 2010, Nava launched the first pitch he saw into the Sox’ bullpen for a grand slam. But he hasn’t left the yard since, appearing in 59 more games that year before finding himself back on the farm.

Then, in 2012, his invitation to Red Sox spring training never arrived.

So you’ll have to excuse Nava for wanting to make the most of his current opportunity.

Called up before the Red Sox’ recent four game set with the Cleveland Indians, the diminutive switch hitter has racked up six hits in ten official at bats, including a pair of doubles and four RBI.

He’s currently boasting gaudy offensive splits, including an absurd .750 OBP and an otherworldly 1.750 OPS.

But Nava has proven he feels at home in the field too, where he’s played Fenway’s notoriously tricky left field angles with virtuosic aplomb. He’s made several athletic plays, and none more impressive than Friday’s outfield assist that caught the IndiansJack Hannahan at home in what turned out to be a close game.

Nava credits the uncertainty that came with his fall from favor in the Boston organization with his improved game, saying, “I think it actually helped. It took any pressure that I could’ve added on myself off because I felt, well, I’ve got nothing to lose right now.” (Via the Boston Herald)

At a time when the Sox have been hurting for consistency in the outfield, Nava has stepped in as a great stopgap option. Jacoby Ellsbury he’s not, but he gives Bobby Valentine some flexibility and offensive punch in a slot where Darnell McDonald and Marlon Byrd have left plenty to be desired.

With a performance like this, Nava may find himself with the big team for longer than anyone expected—including himself.