Two-run HR just adds to Nava's career year

Two-run HR just adds to Nava's career year
June 13, 2013, 12:15 am
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- At 30 years old, not far removed from being designated for assignment and removed from the Red Sox' 40-man roster, Daniel Nava is having the best season of his career.

But, please: don't ask his manager if he's been caught off guard by the contributions that Nava is providing to his team.

"He keeps coming up in a lot of conversation,'' said Farrell, "on things like, 'Are we surprised about...?' and 'Did you ever imagine
a contribution [like this]?' We'll just let him continue to do his  thing.''

On Wednesday night in the series finale for the Red Sox against Tampa Bay, Nava drove a two-run homer to right in the third inning
and Red Sox pitching made it stand up for a 2-1 win.

The homer was Nava's 10th - a career best, ranking him second on the team to only David Ortiz -- and he now has 44 RBI, also a career-
best. Among American League outfielders, only Baltimore's Adam Jones has knocked in more (45) runs.

Perhaps it has something to do with the calendar: Wednesday was the third anniversary of his big league debut, when Nava swung at
the first pitch he saw for a grand slam against the Phillies.

Three years later, Nava still has the ability to come through in big spots. The Sox won two games here and in both of them, Nava
knocked in the go-ahead run.

Against Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer, Nava won a long nine-pitch at-bat, fouling off Archer's tough sliders until he got something he
could handle.

"He's got a good fastball,'' said Nava of the young starter. "That was my second time [against him] and he's shown that he can throw his
changeup for a strike, too. I couldn't key on anything. I was just looking for something middle and trying to stay up the middle.

"It was just reactions there.''

Nava fouled off pitch after pitch, but insisted that it wasn't his plan to purposefully waste pitches.

"I wish I was that good to actually foul pitches off,'' he said with a smile, "and do it on purpose. I guess my reactions are just bad enough
that I can't put it in play. Maybe enough bad [swings] equal one good one.''

The longer the at-bat went, the more confident Nava became as the hitter gains momentum in those confrontations.

"I think it's a good feel because you've seen all that he's got to offer,'' he said. "And that's obviously a good feeling. But knowing how
the pitching is, if we can (runs) on the board before they do, it bodes well for us because their pitching is good.''

Nava is hitting .320 with runners in scoring position against right-handers this season and nights like Wednesday will doubtless start more
talk that he's deserving of All-Star consideration.

That won't surprise the Red Sox either, who are likely to, in the manager's words, continue to "let him do his thing.''