Daniel Nava was one of the Red Sox’s best hitters last season, batting .303 with 12 homers, a .385 on-base percentage, and an .831 OPS in 134 games, but he’s off to a 10-for-67 (.149) start this year and Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that Boston has decided to demote him back to Triple-A.
Boston benched Nava regularly throughout the playoffs in favor of Jonny Gomes, so it’s perhaps not a huge shock that they’re unwilling to give him a longer leash now. Still, at age 31 and coming off a very good season as a lineup regular the move to the minors is definitely a surprise.
Shane Victorino being on the verge of returning from the disabled list allows the Red Sox to make a change in the outfield, where they’ll presumably go with Victorino, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Grady Sizemore as the regulars and use Gomes versus left-handed pitching. And it seems likely that a few teams will give the Red Sox a call to see if Nava is available in trade.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: