FORT MYERS, Fla. — Daniel Nava is open to batting leadoff, ninth or anywhere in between.
“If I am in the leadoff spot, I’ve been there before,” Nava said before the Boston Red Sox’s workout at JetBlue Park on Thursday. “… If they want me to do that, whatever they need.”
Nava doesn’t have the speed of a traditional leadoff hitter, much less the speed of Boston’s former leadoff man, Jacoby Ellsbury, who signed with the New York Yankees over the offseason. But what Nava lacks in wheels, he makes up for by getting on base at a steady clip. He finished second on the Red Sox and fifth in the American League with a .385 on-base percentage in 2013.
“I’m not going to change my approach,” Nava said of adjusting to a leadoff role if manager John Farrell calls his number. “I think my approach is kind of similar to what a leadoff guy’s is.”
Farrell said during a radio appearance Wednesday that Shane Victorino probably will start the season as the Red Sox’s leadoff hitter, although matchups could dictate the skipper’s lineup card on a given night. Farrell said both Nava and fellow outfielder Jonny Gomes are candidates to lead off when Victorino isn’t entrenched atop the order.
“There’s a little more room for flexibility. … If that’s where they want me to hit in the lineup, that’s fine,” Nava said Thursday of batting first. “As long as I’m in the lineup, I don’t care. I’ll hit ninth.”
So, is there anything Nava must be mindful of if he’s batting first as opposed to down in the order?
“I gotta get knocks,” Nava said.
Makes sense. That’s pretty important.