UPDATE: Nava came up with the bases loaded again in the third inning, however he struck out. Too good to be true.
5:00 PM: If you aren’t watching this afternoon’s Phillies-Red Sox game, you just missed something pretty special. Daniel Nava, who was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday, connected for a grand slam off Joe Blanton in his first major league at-bat in the bottom of the second inning. In fact, it was on the very first pitch he saw.
Nava is the fourth player in major league history to hit a grand slam in his first at-bat in the big leagues. He’s the first to do it since Kevin Kouzmanoff on Sept. 2, 2006.
Nava became the 10th player in Red Sox history to hit a home run in his first major league
at-bat. The last (and only other) player to hit a grand slam in his first Red Sox at-bat was Rip Repulski on May 10, 1960.
Nava, 27, has a .342/.434/.545 batting line over four seasons in the minor leagues. If you’d like to learn more about the rookie outfielder’s incredible story, check out this piece by Tony Lee of NESN.com. He’s a real story to root for.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.