BOSTON Daniel Nava is back in the leadoff spot for the Red Sox tonight against the Tigers for the third straight game.And why not?He has hit in the first spot the last two games, and four times overall in his career. The Sox have won all four games. The last time the Sox won as many of a players first games in the lead-off spot was Steve Lyons first six starts leading off from May 27 through June 9, 1985.Nava had the big hit in the Sox 6-3 win over the Tigers Tuesday night, a two-out, bases-loaded double in the third off Justin Verlander to score all three runners.Thats what you try to teach a player, manager Bobby Valentine said. When the moment is intense, to slow it down. You keep hearing that, that you want to breath and not have things spin too quickly. It seemed like he was all of his at-bats. That at-bat didnt look any different than any of his other at-bats, which is pretty damned phenomenal I think.In 19 games this season, Nava has a .429 on-base percentage. He has reached base safely in 17 of those games.Hes had a pretty good on-base percentage all his life, Valentine said. So he has an ability to see the ball, to not get out of himself.Nava did not even receive an invitation to spring training after spending all of 2011 in the minor leagues despite making his major league debut and playing 60 games the previous season. Valentine has said the switch-hitting outfielder was not even on his radar this spring.Since being called up on May 10, he has started each game in left field.Daniel, his defense has been so good, Valentine said. Hes playing the wall so well. His throws are so accurate. His jumps are so precise. He wouldnt even have to be hitting if you wanted to put him out there because at the beginning of the season that wasnt the case in left field, as some of us might recall. He filled a big hole.Valentine pointed to Nava, along with shortstop Mike Aviles and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, as providing some much needed, and perhaps unexpected stability to the team.Mike Aviles and Salty and Daniel could have created a real different situation if they werent playing as well as theyre playing, Valentine said. We had stability with Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez. But if there wasnt stability at those starts, this would be more challenging than it is. Theyve been great.
Never say never?
While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.
CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season.
Pedro Martinez just told me & @jtomase he thinks Ortiz will come back to play next season. Says won't believe he's retired 'til season's end— Trenni Kusnierek (@trenni) January 21, 2017
For the full interview with Martinez, click here.
Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired.
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.
The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.
But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.
“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.
“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”
He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.
He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.
But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.
“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”