It wasn't the most successful game for Pawtucket as it fell 3-1 to Syracuse on Saturday at Fenway Park, but there was one bright spot: designated hitter Daniel Nava, who scored Pawtucket's only run.
This isn't the first time Nava has played at Fenway Park, although the circumstances surrounding his last appearance at Fenway were much different. Last year, Nava played in 60 games with the Red Sox. Still, the outfielder doesn't see too many major differences between playing in the majors and playing in the minors.
"It's both playing baseball, and honestly when I was fortunate enough to get a shot to play up here last year, it was a real learning experience from a team aspect," he said. "I really learned a lot, a lot of guys were really selfless.
"Here at Triple-A, you get that feel because guys want to do whatever it takes to get to that next level and to win and help the team because they realize that's what matters at this level."
Nava said the biggest difference was arm strength, as there's more arm strength in the majors. But he added that there's still a lot of arm strength in Triple-A, as well as a lot of desire to win.
"It's a good dynamic of both those things," Nava said.
As one of the oldest and most historic ballparks, Fenway Park can be nerve-wracking to newcomers. But Nava said that his prior experience at Fenway helped him relax and remain unintimidated on Saturday, when the PawSox and Chiefs played there as part of Futures at Fenway.
"It definitely made it a little easier to think about all this and focus right there on the field, rather than other distractions," Nava said.
As a member of the Boston Red Sox last year, Nava put together a .242 batting average with one home run and 26 RBIs in 161 at-bats. With Pawtucket this season, Nava has nine home runs, 37 RBIs and a .265 batting average through 106 games.
The 28-year-old hit a solo home run into the center-field bleachers on Saturday.
"I wasn't trying to hit a home run, it just happened like that." Nava said. "I wasn't trying to do that whatsoever."
The California native said he didn't know it would be gone until he watched it go into the bleachers because he knows how deep center field is at Fenway Park.
Nava added that he always enjoys coming back to Fenway and playing in front of passionate baseball fans.
"It's always fun to come back to Fenway and play, whether you've been a ten-year vet or not. It's a great environment. We've still got great fan support," he said. "Unfortunately we couldn't pull the win out, but at the same time it was just a good environment to come back to and enjoy."