A few days ago, my pal Chris Hatfield from SoxProspects.com, send out the following tweet:
In case you’re not fluent in Twitter, @dnavs33 is short for Daniel Nava and Chris was referring to what I wrote one month ago when I predicted that Nava was about to go on a tear.
(Photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
I don’t claim to be The Amazing Kreskin. My logic at the time was simple: When a player has an established track record, his statistics will eventually trend toward his career averages. Nava was hitting .199 at the time and entered the season with a career minor league batting average of .321. It was only a matter of time before he moved the needle in the right direction.
In 27 games since being designated for assignment by Boston on May 20 and clearing waivers, Daniel is batting .365 (38-for-104) to lift his batting average for the season to .267 (.379 OBP). On Tuesday night, his RBI double in the 7th inning drove in the winning run as the PawSox rallied from a 6-0 deficit to beat Rochester 8-6.
So what exactly did Nava do to turn his season around? Basically nothing.
“He’s such a perfectionist and he was trying to find his swing,” said PawSox hitting coach Chili Davis. “Sometimes as a hitter, you lose sight of the fact that you’re swinging at a ball. You try to perfect a swing instead of focusing on hitting a moving object. We were in the cage one day and I said, ‘Hey Nav – how long have you been working on that swing?’ He gave me a weird look and I said, ‘Since spring training right? You can trust it now.’ I told him to start tracking the ball and whacking the ball. Track it and whack it. The next four or five pitches that I threw to him he hit line drives and said, ‘Wow, that’s great.’ So now when he sees me he says, ‘Trust it!’ His swing is good – instead of worrying about mechanics, he started looking for something to hit.”
“I think if you ask any guy, there are usually phrases that they relate to and that’s a phrase that allows me to turn my brain off and trust the ability that I’ve been given,” Nava said. “At least for me, I put myself in a better position to succeed when I’m not thinking and I’m just reacting. See the ball, hit the ball. There’s nothing too deep about it. Before the game, I remind myself of that and just kind of let it go.”
So Chris Hatfield — this is for you.
I told you so.
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Tuesday night was the 32nd annual Armed Services Night at McCoy Stadium and we were informed that United States soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan were tuned in to the broadcast on Pawsox.com.
We were honored to receive an e-mail from Officer Thomas Desillier who is stationed in Afghanistan with the 43rd Military Police Brigade and woke up at 3:30 am to watch the game on the internet.
Thomas asked us to send out an “I love you forever” shout-out to his wife Christine and daughters Michelle and Cynthia.
He also wrote the following:
“I thought I might miss this year’s Armed Forces Night. I am glad I did not. Thank you.”
No Thomas – Thank You! For watching, writing, and most of all – serving our country.
May God bless all of the men and women serving in the Armed Services and keep you safe.
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The PawSox will look to climb a season-high 6-games-over-.500 on Wednesday as they host Rochester 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.