BOSTON - "Simplify, simplify, simplify."
The words of Henry David Thoreau rang out to Daniel Nava after being sent down to Pawtucket for the first time this season.
Nava had lost his swing. He was hitting .149/.240/.269 at the time of his first demotion on April 22.
Roughly a month later, on May 24, he was back up with the team. But again, Nava struggled - this time even more. Not only was he not hitting, but he wasn't getting consistent playing time. A week later, after going 0-for-10 at the plate with the team over five games, it was back to Pawtucket with his .130 batting average.
Somehow, he tried to keep a positive mindset.
"It's out of my control, so I can't control going up or going down," Nava said after Thursday's 5-3 win over the Indians. "So at a certain point I just said I got to make the most of the opportunity. I wanted to be here. Realistically when I got sent down I knew that it wasn't going to happen, so at some point you have to let it go and move on so you can get back."
But that second trip to Pawtucket lasted just a couple of days, as Mike Carp was placed on the DL and the Sox needed another bat. This time, the results Nava's used to seeing are back too. Nava went 3-for-4 Thursday night, collecting his 2nd three-hit game of the season and 2nd multi-hit performance in his last five games. He's hit safely in five of his last six starts and is 9-for-22 (.409) over his last seven games.
"Just trying to simplify the game as much as possible because it can get pretty complicated," Nava said. "So, not do too much and I guess let the game come to me."
Farrell notes the improvement as well, and all you have to do is look at his spot in the batting order - fifth - to see that Farrell has confidence that Nava has found his stroke again.
"To his credit, he's made an adjustment with his setup at the plate," Farrell said. "Not as spread out. He's on top of the baseball with more of his line drive stroke that we know him to have. He's putting some good swings on balls. He's not lifting the ball as he was early in the season."
The Sox certainly could use production out of their outfielders, as they haven't gotten much out of them at all this season. Now is the perfect time for Nava to earn that spot more permanently when it looked like Gomes had it.
"I think maybe before I was focusing on the results more than the process," Nava said. "Right now I'm trying to step in the box and be as comfortable as I can and take a good swing on a pitch I think I can take a good swing on. And just leave the results as whatever they may be."
Sounds pretty simple.