Results tagged ‘ Daniel Nava ’

Saturday’s Sox report

The Red Sox played their first road game of Spring Training today, albeit just a few minutes up the road to play the Twins. Here were the significant events.

Nava drills one from the right side: Daniel Nava hadn’t faced a live pitcher since the World Series last year when he stepped to the plate for his first at-bat on Saturday. It ended with the left fielder pummeling a homer over the wall in left against Scott Diamond. The most significant thing about it was that it came from the right side. Nava has been a far superior left-handed hitter over the years, so it could make him an even more valuable player if he can start contributing as a right.

Last season, he hit .322 with 10 homers, a .411 on-base percentage and .484 slugging percentage against righties. Against lefties, he hit .252 with two homers and a .311 on-base percentage and .336 slugging percentage.

“I’ll take any of them — left-handed, right-handed — it doesn’t matter,” Nava said. “But, obviously, I know I have work to do from the right side. Any time I can put together a good at-bat, whether the result is a home run or not, that for me is what I’m trying to allow one of the things of Spring Training to be about.”

Britton looks like he belongs: Drake Britton looks like he means business this spring. In his first outing on Saturday, he punched out the first three hitters he faced, and four out of seven, giving up just one hit. Assuming Andrew Miller, Craig Breslow and Chris Capuano are all on the team, whch seems likely, that leaves Britton without a roster spot.

However, the Red Sox don’t want him thinking about that.

“Do just what I’ve been doing,” Britton said. “I’ve been told, ‘Don’t change a thing,’ just keep doing what I’m doing, and that’s what I’m focused on.”

Pierzynski even booed in Spring Training: The one thing the Red Sox haven’t had in recent years is a player who gets booed all the time on the road. Don’t be surprised to see A.J. Pierzynski get his share of jeers. As has been well-chronicled, he is one of those players the opponent loves to hate. Pierzynski even heard it from the fans at Hammond Stadium on Saturday as he stepped in for his first at-bat. Pierzynski played along, tipping his cap..

“Whatever,” said Pierzynski. “It’s fine … [I] expect nothing less. It’s fine, just one of those funny moments. It’s good.”

Webster still trying to prove himself:  When Allen Webster arrived last spring, he dazzled everyone by throwing in the upper 90s. However, he might have set himself back. Webster was trying to impress his new team, so he sacrificed command for velocity. Today, Webster still looked like he was trying to find himself, displaying some of that same spotty location that marked his abbreviated stints with the Red Sox last year.

It could just be a case of Webster trying to refine some of his new mechanics.

“Delivery-wise, he was a guy who went over his head with his hands and was a little bit stagnant with his movement, where he’d begin his delivery and pause at the top with his hands at the top of his delivery,” said Farrell.

And how will that adjustment help him?

“It takes the tension out of his shoulders and, in some ways, it’s comparable to when Clay [Buchholz] made the adjustment, as well,” said Farrell. “You would see Clay begin a game — every pitcher — as they’re trying to get into the flow of the game, there’s anxiety and there’s some uncertainty — and that translates to some tension.

“The key with Clay was, let’s work to get the first ground ball on the infield. Then, you could see the tension come out. This is taking it out naturally by the adjustment in delivery. It just feels more loose and fluid.”

Grady gets a hit: Grady Sizemore played for the second time in three days, and belted a single to right and the last of this three at-bats. The plan is for Sizemore to get two down days and then resume action on Tuesday. However, Farrell said Sizemore could then get another break from game action after that game. The Red Sox are obviously trying to find the right balance to keep Sizemore healthy.

Quip of the day: Johnny Manziel — A K A Johnny Football — paid a visit to Red Sox camp in the morning as part of a sponsorship appearance.

“Maybe he’ll come take over for Tom Brady,” said A.J. Pierzynski, who then added, “I’m joking, I’m joking!!

Sunday’s activity: Felix Doubront makes his first start on Sunday. Edward Mujica, who could be a key man in the bullpen, makes his debut. Regulars Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli, David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts and Jonny Gomes should all see action.

Wrapup from first Grapefruit League game

The Red Sox had another first today, facing Major League competition for the first time. The opponent? The Minnesota Twins.

Prospect dazzles: The most noteworthy development was the lasers that purred out of Anthony Ranaudo’s right hand. The top prospect mowed down all six Twins hitters he faced, striking out four of them.

Ranaudo doesn’t come across as cocky. But he does have the type of confidence that is usually necessary to succeed at the Major League level.

“I don’t really want to say I was surprised, but maybe a little surprised because some of them were up in the zone, even some early in the count. Obviously I’ve got to do a better job of bringing the ball down, but I wouldn’t say I was surprised,” Ranaudo said. “That’s what I’m going for every time I go out there — either swing and misses or weak contact or getting outs. I don’t like to use the word surprised, but I guess maybe in that context, some of them were up in the zone, but it felt good to get those swing-and-misses, for sure.”

Miller rusty: Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Andrew Miller looked rusty pitching in a game for the first time since breaking his left foot on July 6 of last season. The lanky lefty walked three of the five batters he faced.

“It takes him some time to time up that delivery,” said manager John Farrell. “Six-foot-eight, there’s a lot of moving parts there. It’s good for us to see him on the mound after coming off last early July because of the torn ligament in the foot. Spring Training is here to get him online.”

Offense quiet: Aside from Mike Napoli, the Red Sox didn’t have much to show in the way of offense. The cleanup man went 2-for-2. The other regulars who played, Jonny Gomes, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks, were all hitless. Farrell could only laugh when WBZ radio reporter Jonny Miller jokingly asked him if he was worried about the offense.

Saturday’s info: A.J. Pierzynski will play his first game in a Boston uniform on Saturday against his original former team, the Minnesota Twins. Daniel Nava, slowed by a neck strain, will play his first game this spring. And Grady Sizemore will play for the second time in three days as he continues his comeback attempt.

Red Sox weigh in on Jeter’s retirement

Sometimes you learn the most about a player from what his top rival thinks of him.

Several Red Sox players, and manager John Farrell, commented on Jeter announcing he will retire after the 2014 season.

John Farrell: 

“In some ways, bittersweet. I think we all have enjoyed watching him play, the way he’s carried himself, the way he’s performed in between the lines. And yet you realize that players don’t go on forever. I guess in a word, he epitomizes the word professional, in just the success he’s had and the way he’s conducted himself on and off the field in a city like New York and to do it in the style that he has — he’s synonymous with winning and just a Yankee legend.”

How about game-planning against Jeter?

“Oh, like many good hitters, you couldn’t take the same approach each time.You had to find ways to stay ahead of him and his thought process. He was just a model of consistency. When you think of the guy, he’s 10th on the all-time hit list, he’s 120 to becoming the number six guy. All things wrapped up in one, you’re talking about elite performance, durability, long-term career, multi-world champion. He sets the bar for the way guys go about their game.”

Jeter’s last regular season game will be at Fenway Park.

“If it wasn’t in New York, maybe it’s fitting that it’s in Boston given the number of series he’s played both regular season, postseason — he was in the middle of a rivalry for 20 years. “

Clay Buchholz:

“A little bit surprised, but the guy has done about as much as he can do in this game and … First-ballot Hall of Famer. Growing up idolizing him as a player, he was the ideal shortstop, it was fun to get to pitch to him a couple times I got to. And also fun to watch what he could do.”

“He was as down to earth as down to earth gets. For somebody to be the captain of that team and that franchise for as long as he was there, being able to keep everything on an even-keel, do everything as a professional, it was pretty special.

“He was obviously always a threat first pitch of the game — you saw him a number of times hit the first pitch of the game out of the park. Oo I had to spot up pitch  and hopefully get him to chase something out of the zone. That’s what’s hard about him – everybody says his hole is down and away, but you see how many hits he gets to the opposite field, so he’s just a tough guy to pitch to overall, and just a really good baseball player.”

Farewell tour, “I have no idea. I’m sure it’s going to be really special. There wasn’t one person in the game that disliked him in any way. He’ll get the best of everything at every park he goes through throughout the season. It’s what he deserves too. I wish him the best of luck.”

Last regular season game for jeter at Fenway: “It’s going to be crazy. There’s not going to be any boos in the stadium. He’s going to be treated well in his farewell. It’ll be a special day for everybody.”

Interactions with Jeter:  “When they’re taking BP he’ll pass me, that’s basically how it’s been. The last couple years it’s, ‘Hey Buch, how you doing? Good start last night,’ or whatever. It’s never been sit-down dinner or anything but he’s always been really personable to me.”

DANIEL NAVA:

“His consistency speaks for itself. The type of he player he was to everyone, whether you were a rookie or 10-year vet. I know for me, he knew that was my first season in 2010, he said congrats and everything like that. It means a lot when it’s your first time. We had a lot of rookies on the team and they all said the same thing.”

“Clutch. As clutch as they come. I think everyone admires a guy like that, who can do what he does in the regular season and then obviously in the postseason on the biggest stage, and he did that consistently.”

“I think at least for my generation, that’s all you know. I’m sure prior generations can say the same about any great on any team, but certainly for the Yankees and a lot of guys that grew up watching Derek Jeter play for the extent that he’s played.

Last reg. season game against Red Sox: “I haven’t gone that far down the schedule yet. It’s going to be a special day. I hope for his sake his last game would be at home in front of the Yankee faithful, but either way it’s probably fitting that it’s either at home for the Yankees or against the Red Sox.

MIKE NAPOLI:

“After the year he had last year, battling injuries, trying to come back, I don’t know. He knows his body best. It’s kind of sad to see this is his last year, but, my God. I mean, growing up, looking at a professional athlete, you’d probably want to take a good look at his career and how he handled it.”

“Just the way he went about his business. He played for a big-market team that won five championships. He came to work every day and handled himself well. It’s sad to see him go.”

“I got to talk to him at my first All-Star game. If I don’t really know you, I’m not going to go up to you and try to talk to you or anything. But I definitely watched the way he played and the way he went about his business.

“It’s crazy. The run they had. You looked at the Yankees, you looked at those guys.”

Last game against Red Sox, “Someone like that, one of the greatest Yankees, to be on the field with him for his last game would be pretty cool.

Facing him, “I was hoping he’d get himself out. I remember calling the game the way he stayed inside the ball. Hopefully he was getting himself out, rolling over a pitch or popping something up. He’s always a tough out. You knew he was going to give you a tough at-bat every time up.”

Nava makes a grand entrance

Have you ever heard the saying, “You never know what you’re going to see when you come to the ballpark?”. Today is the very meaning of that.

Daniel Nava, a player most of you had never heard of before today, earned a spot in Red Sox lore by hitting a grand slam on the very first pitch of his Major League career.

Here is a sampling of my story for MLB.com:

The kid who was 70 pounds when he started high school made a dramatic entrance to the Major Leagues on Saturday. Daniel Nava, a undrafted prospect the Red Sox signed out of an Independent League in Jan., 2008, swatted the very first pitch he saw from Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton and put it into the Boston bullpen in right-center for a grand slam.
 
Just like that, Nava became the second player in Red Sox history to hit a grand slam in his first plate appearance with the team and first since Rip Repulski on May 10, 1960 against the White Sox.

Nava is the 10th player in the long and storied history of the Red Sox to go deep in his first plate appearance with the club, and second this season. Darnell McDonald also did so on April 20 against the Texas Rangers.

Even before the grand slam, it had already been a surreal day for the 27-year-old Nava, who was summoned to Boston from Triple-A Pawtucket to take Josh Reddick’s spot on the roster. The Sox optioned Reddick back to Pawtucket after Friday night’s game so that he could get more regular at-bats.

With both Jacoby Ellsbury and Jeremy Hermida on the disabled list with rib fractures, the switch-hitting Nava will share playing time in left field with Darnell McDonald and Bill Hall.
 
Was Nava really 70 pounds as a ninth-grader in the Bay Area?

“I was,” said Nava. “I really was. I was really small. I didn’t grow until sophomore year of college. I really was 70 pounds. I couldn’t go on the rides at the theme parks, I was so small.”

Could that kid have ever dreamed of starting for the Red Sox and standing in front of the historic Green Monster?

“That kid could barely swing a 32-inch bat so I don’t think he was thinking about the big leagues or anything like that,” Nava said. “It’s been a fun run, that’s for sure.”

Something happened along the way. Nava started to fill in to his body – he is listed at 5-10 and 200 pounds in the media guide – and never stopped working. After college stints at the College of San Mateo (junior college) and Santa Clara University, he played for the Independent League Chico Outlaws, winning the Most Valuable Player of the Golden Baseball League. He started his stint with the Red Sox at Class-A Lancaster in 2008, before moving on to Salem and Double-A Portland in ’09. He played 54 games for Pawtucket this season, hitting .294 with eight homers, 38 RBIs and a .364 on-base percentage.

“Nava is kind of a good story,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “He’s an Independent League kid out of college — he’s hit everywhere he’s been. There’s been a lot of people in player development that have been talking about this kid for the last little while, saying, he can help you win games. So he’s going to get a chance.”

Nava could hardly contain his excitement before the game. Actually, he didn’t try to contain it.

“It’s obviously a dream come true,” Nava said. “I was telling my friends, ‘sorry guys if I don’t know what to say because I’m kind of speechless, the whole thing happened so fast.’ I’m trying to learn what to do, where to go.”

The nerves quickly turned to production, as Nava introduced himself to Red Sox fans in the most emphatic way possible.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 78 other followers