Monday March 08, 2010 | 08:57 AM

Don't know if you saw Sunday's On Baseball column but we looked at 12 players who have a lot riding on this baseball season. Most of them are getting older and need to prove themselves or, in the case of Daniel Nava, needs to continue proving himself.

Nava, 27, was not drafted his senior year in 2006 even though he hit .395 for Santa Clara. He played independent league ball in 2007 and hit .371. The Red Sox finally signed him and he has not batted below .339, and that includes a .364 clip in 32 games with Portland last year.

Nava is expected to continue his uphill climb as a "non-prospect" in Portland this year.

When John Lackey made his Red Sox debut Saturday, he overshadowed another starting pitcher that day. The Red Sox split their squad so while Lackey was pitching against the Twins, Felix Doubront started against the Rays. Doubront threw two hitless innings,

A lot of times pitching performances in spring training games are against other minor leaguers in the later innings. But Doubront had three strikeouts against Carl Crawford, Ben Zobrist and Pat Burrell.

Doubront, 22, pitched all of 2009 with the Sea Dogs. While his numbers were okay (8-6, 3.35), he showed command with his fastball and change-up. Look for him in Pawtucker this season with a legitimate chance for a call-up.

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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