Sunday June 13, 2010 | 06:48 AM

Three months ago, at the minor league spring training complex in Fort Myers, Fla., Daniel Nava walked by himself toward the clubhouse. What few autograph seekers there were followed after guys named Kelly, Iglesias and Kalish.

At the time, Nava was not sure whether he would be returning to the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs or move up to the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox.

He had not been invited to the Red Sox Rookie Camp that winter, which is a gathering of players who the Red Sox believe are close to making it to the majors. Nava was in limbo, but was not complaining.

"How can I complain?," he told me last March. "Right now, I'm in Triple-A camp. But you never know ... I haven't really had anyone tell me I've officially made it, that I'm on the radar. But if I get too focused on that, I lose sight of what I'm trying to do."

Nava, 27, never lost sight. He always seems to be ignored, having to prove himself over and over. Nava never appeared to have a chip on his shoulder. He just kept putting up the numbers until he could not be ignored.

His performance forced the Red Sox to put him in Triple-A. When the Red Sox needed an extra outfielder, they called up Josh Reddick. He struggled, so Boston traded for Jonathan Van Every, who was eventually traded back. Reddick was recalled, but still did not produce, so Nava was finally given a chance.

He started in left field at Fenway Park Saturday.

Think he made the most of it, hitting a grand slam on the first major league pitch he saw? Nava went 2-for-4.

This is Nava's time to shine. Solid numbers will keep him on the Red Sox radar.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, today's baseball column in the Telegram looks at the best-performing Sox prospects so far. The column was written before the weekend, so I wasn't just throwing Nava's name in at the last minute.

There are other names, like Iglesias, Kalish and Kelly.

But Nava can't be ignored, something he proved Saturday.

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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