With one game left in April, Daniel Nava is batting .156 with 0 home runs.
Considering his .337 career minor league batting average after four seasons, I had to ask the 28-year-old outfielder if he has ever scuffled this badly at the minor league level.
“My first month in the Red Sox organization was like this, but it was a little different because I wasn’t playing every day,” Nava said. “Everyone goes through these times and I’m trying not to focus on the hits. I’m trying to feel good in the box, take good swings, and then put the ball in play hard.”
Daniel’s memory of his rookie year in Boston’s farm system is accurate. In 2008 with Single-A Lancaster, Nava batted .233 in April. But by the end of that season, Nava was the California League batting champion with a .341 average.
“I’ve been in this situation before, but it doesn’t make it any more fun or any easier,” Nava told me. “But I know that I just have to keep trying to take steps in the right direction – as corny as that sounds.”
Daniel is tied for 2nd in the International League with 17 walks, so his slow start isn’t necessarily a matter of chasing bad pitches.
“I feel like I’m seeing the ball but I’m just not executing,” Nava said. “When you’re not doing as well as you want to, you start to think too much. I’m just trying to turn my brain off and see the ball and react.”
While Daniel has not performed well in the batters box, you would never know it in the clubhouse where he is as friendly and upbeat as ever.
“Of course there are times where you are more frustrated than others, but I try to stay on an even keel – I’ve tried to pick that up from a lot of the guys in Boston,” Nava said. “It’s a long season and obviously everybody wants to start out well, but sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t. It doesn’t mean that you can’t finish strong.”
After his bad first month at Lancaster in ’08, Nava batted .418 in May.
I suspect a similar turnaround is right around the corner.
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The PawSox dropped the final game of their 4-game series at Lehigh Valley on Friday, losing 3-0 to the IronPigs. It marked the first time that Pawtucket has been shutout this season.
Still, it was a winning road trip (4-3) and it will be great to be back at McCoy Stadium on Saturday night.
And even better to see the handsome lad when I get home on Saturday morning.
I’d love to hear from you. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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