BOSTON -- Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava, who is in town this week as part of the 74th annual Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America dinner, is being honored with the Lou Gorman Comeback Player Award.
Of course, everyone remembers his big-league debut on June 10, 2010 when he hit a grand slam in his first at-bat, on the first pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies at Fenway Park. He played 60 games for the Red Sox that summer, but spent the entire 2011 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
With the Red Sox decimated with injuries in 2012, Nava worked his way back to the big leagues and played a vital role in 88 games when the team needed him.
As 2013 approaches, he’s ready for anything.
Even though Mike Napoli’s deal is finally complete, the Sox are still in the market for a first baseman. It’s likely GM Ben Cherington will look internally once spring training arrives. Nava hasn’t played first base since junior college, but he said he would be open to that option if the team asked.
“If they want me to play first base, I’ll play first base, but no one has approached me about it,” Nava said. “I’ll do whatever. I’ll be a water boy. I’ll wash uniforms.”
Before he was part of a nine-player trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers last August, former Red Sox infielder Nick Punto pulled Nava aside and told him he should work at first base. Nava listened to the advice and started to take fungoes in the infield.
With outfielders Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes now in the mix, Nava understands he could be playing at Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013, but he’s prepared to help the Red Sox in any capacity.
“I’ve been there and I know I can work on these things and hopefully they’ll be happy when I get called up they’ll see a difference. You want them to see the difference that you’re coachable and you can be what they need you to be.” Nava said. “I’m just trying to be whatever they need me to be so I can help this team win.”
Nava said he’s completely healthy after having offseason surgery on his left wrist and that he hopes all the progress he’s made in the last few seasons in the organization opened some eyes.
“I would hope so,” he said. “I know there were certain issues they were saying I needed to work on, and when I went back down I tried to focus on those things. I hope those were some of the things this past season I was able to show them I tried to listen to what they say and they would be happy with that. I hope.”