Nava sticks; Lillibridge designated

July, 16, 2012
BOSTON -- During the mid-afternoon hours on Monday at Fenway Park, outfielder Daniel Nava stood in the Red Sox dugout and admired the storied and empty ballpark.

With the team set to officially activate Carl Crawford from the disabled list for the first time this season, Nava knew there was a chance he would be the odd man out and get optioned back to the minors.

He returned to the clubhouse a few minutes later without knowing his fate with the club. When the clubhouse opened to the media at 3:30, Nava was sitting at his stall. A few lockers down, the stall once occupied by Brent Lillibridge was empty.

Nava survived and Lillibridge, who was part of the Kevin Youkilis trade, was designated for assignment.

“I’m definitely happy I’m still here,” Nava said. “It’s something that I’ve said since the very first day that if I’m starting, coming off the bench or just sitting on the bench, as long as I’m here to help the team win is really what I want to be a part of.

“Carl’s a great player and he’s got a track record of doing some special things, so you’ve got to give that guy a shot to get back out there and do what he’s capable of doing. We all know he can because he worked his butt of to get back here. I’m happy I’m able to stay. I’m definitely grateful.”

Nava deserved to stay.

Since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on May 10, he’s done nothing but help the Red Sox stay in contention. Overall, Nava is hitting .265 with four homers and 27 RBIs. He hit .324 in 23 games during June as the team’s leadoff man. Defensively, he’s been solid too.

So when it came time to make a roster move, Nava’s ability to help the team kept him in Boston.

When asked about the choice to DFA Lillibridge and keep Nava, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said, “Ben (Cherington) and I discussed a few options and that seemed like the one that was the best in this situation.”

If Crawford can remain healthy and doesn’t blow out his elbow by season’s end, Nava’s playing time will be limited. He knows how much the Red Sox have invested in Crawford, but Nava is just happy to be in the big leagues.

“We’ll see how it turns out, but I’m glad I’m still here with a shot to help this team win,” Nava said.

Joe McDonald

ESPN Staff Writer



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