Yes, Carl Crawford Can Hit. And So Can Daniel Nava.

So as it turns out, Carl Crawford isn’t the worst hitter in baseball history.

 

(Photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)

After the Red Sox $142 million man batted .155 with a .431 OPS in April, there was rampant speculation that he couldn’t handle the heat in Boston. 

Now that Crawford is hitting .333 with a .864 OPS in May, the panic level has dropped considerably.

The bottom line is that when a player has an established track record, his statistics will eventually trend toward his career averages.

And that’s what is about to happen with Daniel Nava.

 

The 28-year-old outfielder can flat-out hit.  In 333 minor league games, Nava is batting .321/.418/.502.  Last year in his first taste of major league action with Boston, Daniel hit .242 in 60 games with a very respectable .351 OBP. 

But this year has been a 7-week struggle.  Nava was batting .189 with 0 HR in 132 at-bats when the Red Sox designated him for assignment last week to make room on the 40-man roster for Drew Sutton.

“When I got to the field (in Columbus) last Friday, Arnie told me that the Red Sox had some roster moves that he needed to fill me in on,” Nava said.  “He told me what was going on and it was a situation out of my control.  It’s a business and you understand that anything can happen, so you just have to roll with it, and try to make the best of it.”

When the PawSox traveled from Columbus to Toledo for a 4-game series against the Mud Hens, Nava returned to Pawtucket to wait and see if he would be claimed by another organization or clear waivers and return to the PawSox.  But it was not a mini-vacation as Daniel worked on his swing at Ron Westmoreland’s “In the Zone” baseball academy in Fall River, MA.

“I hit with Ryan Westmoreland’s dad,” Nava said.  “I went to his batting cage and he threw me some rounds of batting practice.  I was looking at it as an opportunity to work on some stuff that I felt I needed to work on and he was very gracious to offer his time and allow me to do that. 

“I looked at it as an opportunity to have a little time away – almost like the All-Star break where you get a chance to regroup.  I tried to do that and look at it as an opportunity to get my mind right and come back with a renewed focus.” 

Nava returned to the PawSox on Thursday and promptly had hits in his first two at-bats before finishing 2-for-4 in a 4-3 loss to Indianapolis. 

“I know that what has worked in the past can lead to results now,” Nava said.  “It’s a matter of trusting that and allowing myself to believe that and not get too frustrated when I’m not doing what I want to do.”

Carl Crawford has 8 hits in his last 9 at-bats.  Don’t be surprised if Nava gets hot too. 

Make that when Nava gets hot.

* * * * *

Chad Paronto’s debut with the independent Pittsfield Colonials did not go as well as hoped, as the former PawSox team comedian dropped an 8-4 decision to the New Jersey Jackals on Thursday.

 

After pitching a perfect first inning, Paronto allowed 5 runs on 5 hits in the second inning before settling down and pitching 4 scoreless frames (6 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). 

In his first start in 10 years, Chad threw 97 pitches.

I hope he can still lift his right arm.

* * * * *

How about Rich Hill?

 

In 7 relief outings for Boston, the 31-year-old lefty has pitched 7 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts.  He’s holding left-handed batters to a .083 average and right-handed batters to a .182 average.

I hate to say I told you so, but…

* * * * * 

Bobby Jenks will join the list of former major league All-Stars to wear a PawSox uniform when he makes a rehab start at McCoy Stadium on Friday night.

 

Here are some nuggets about Jenks that will appear in tonight’s game notes:

► Expected to pitch the first inning on a rehab assignment.

► Placed on the 15-day disabled list by Boston on May 5th (retroactive to May 2nd) with biceps tendonitis.

► Is 1-2 with a 9.35 ERA in 11 outings for Boston this season (8.2 IP, 13 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 9 BB, 10 K).  Started the year by pitching 4 scoreless innings in his first 4 outings, but had a 17.36 ERA in the 7 appearances that followed.

► Is 15-20 with 173 saves and a 3.55 ERA in 340 MLB games with Chicago-AL (2005-10) and Boston (2011).

► Is a 2-time American League All-Star (2006 and 2007).

► Is 1 of 4 pitchers to collect at least 25 saves in each of the last 5 seasons (Jonathan Papelbon, Mariano Rivera and Francisco Rodriquez).

► His 173 saves ranks second in White Sox history behind Bobby Thigpen (201).

► Retired 41 consecutive batters (42 outs) in 2007 to tie San Francisco’s Jim Barr (1972) for the second longest streak in major league history.  Mark Buehrle holds the record at 45.

► Originally selected by the Angels in the 5th round of the 2000 draft.

► Jenks, 31, is in his 12th professional season and first year in the Red Sox organization after signing a 2-year deal as a free agent on December 21, 2010.

Friday’s game starts at 7:05.  I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show at 6:50 on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.

I’d love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

If you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

And I have finally joined Facebook.  Just search for Dan Hoard and look for the photo of me with the handsome lad.

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