March 21, 2013

Red Sox Notebook: Nava's right up there when batting left

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

TAMPA, Fla. - For all the talk about Jackie Bradley Jr. this spring, there is another outfielder enjoying a solid training camp.

Daniel Nava
click image to enlarge

Daniel Nava, who played for the Portland Sea Dogs in 2009, is having a good spring with the Red Sox, and if he makes the team could bat second against right-handers.

The Associated Press

Daniel Nava batted second in Wednesday's game against the Yankees, a spot he could find himself in often this season if he makes the roster.

Boston Manager John Farrell revealed some of his lineup thoughts before Wednesday's game, contemplating who hits behind Jacoby Ellsbury.

"What do we do in that 2-hole against right-handed starters?" Farrell asked rhetorically. "Love what Jonny (Gomes) and Shane (Victorino) can do against left-handed pitching.

"Against a right-hander? Think that's where Nava's situation comes in a little more clear. He has swung the bat well from the left side of the plate."

Nava, who played for the Portland Sea Dogs in 2009, is a switch hitter who has always swung better as a left-hander (.261 vs. .191 in the majors).

This spring Nava is batting .333. He went 1 for 3 with a walk Wednesday (0 for 1 against a left-hander, 1 for 2 against right-handers).

While talking about Nava, Farrell stopped short of saying he made the team.

"We are not completely settled on what left-handers will be on the club," he said.

Nava is competing for a roster spot with Mike Carp, Ryan Sweeney and Lyle Overbay.

Nava, 29, who has an option remaining for the minor leagues, has improved his value by adding first base to his resume. He began Wednesday by playing first base and then moved to left field.

"He has shown improvement throughout the camp. His footwork around the bag is fine," said Farrell, who remarked that he was confident enough for Nava to play first in the regular season.

BRADLEY IS also in the outfield mix, although Farrell is offering hints that it won't happen.

Asked if he would use Ellsbury, Victorino and Bradley in the same outfield, Farrell smiled.

"Where would you like them to play?" he asked.

With David Ortiz not ready for the opener, there has been speculation that outfielder Gomes could DH and Bradley could go to left field. Bradley is batting .444 this spring and Farrell knows all about the push to keep him on the major league club. So Farrell understood the question about an outfield of Ellsbury, Victorino and Bradley.

"Is that to feed the Jackie Bradley fire?" Farrell asked with a smile. He wants Ellsbury in center and Victorino in right.

"That's not to say we wouldn't put Jackie in left," Farrell said, "but I don't see Jackie Bradley in left field."

If Ellsbury and Victorino are healthy and Farrell does not see Bradley playing left, then Bradley will be headed for Pawtucket.

IN WEDNESDAY'S GAME, Bradley looked like he is still playing for a roster spot, going 2 for 4 with a double.

Bradley had two of Boston's four hits in the Yankees' 4-0 win. Brock Holt and Nava had the others.

After Felix Doubront's outing (41/3 innings, four runs, seven hits), Andrew Bailey, Joel Hanrahan, Clayton Mortensen and Andrew Miller combined for hitless relief.

Kevin Youkilis, playing against his former team for the first time as a Yankee, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.

SHORTSTOP XANDER BOGAERTS returned from the World Baseball Classic, where he played for the Netherlands (5 for 19 in seven games, with two doubles and three walks).

Bogaerts, 20, the top Red Sox prospect who is expected to start the 2013 season at Portland, played in a minor league game Wednesday. He could play with Boston in Thursday night's game with the Phillies.

"He'll remain with us in camp here for the time being," Farrell said. "He'll get some reps at short and possibly at third base."

Farrell said Bogaerts might play third base simply to get into a game and get more at-bats.

"Make no mistake, in our eyes, he is still a shortstop," Farrell said.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: ClearTheBases

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