Healthy, Nady expects productive year
Right fielder ignoring trade rumors during Spring Training
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- With all that Xavier Nady went through over the course of last season, the last thing that is going to get him down right now is a slow spring start. Or trade rumors. Or knowing that there is a prospect right behind him that the Pirates are grooming to be their everyday right fielder.
"It feels good just to be out there running around," Nady said, grinning.
As rudimentary as being able to run may seem, Nady isn't about to take it for granted. Not after what happened last season.
Between an intestinal virus, numerous hamstring strains and a concussion sustained from being hit in the head with a pitch, Nady couldn't stay out of the trainer's room for an extended period all year.
So far this spring, however, Nady's trips to the trainer's room have been a lot less frequent and significantly shorter. As a matter of fact, thanks in part to a new pregame stretching routine, Nady proudly reported that he hasn't felt any discomfort in his left hamstring since camp opened.
"Knock on wood," he quickly added.
That's the encouraging part. However, one could argue that the writing is on the wall for Nady when it comes to his tenure in Pittsburgh.
Management has not given him any indication that he is going to be a part of this organization long-term. The club willingly took trade offers for Nady over the offseason and will continue to do so during the season. The team has not approached him about a long-term contract, and his name is rarely brought up when the organization projects the future makeup of the club.
Nady has said that he doesn't necessarily view himself as playing on borrowed time, but that he realizes the reality of the direction this club seems to be going. Regardless, he said that he wastes no time wondering "what-if" and "when."
"It's hard enough to worry about this game, and I have no control over what they do," said Nady, who has been with the organization since the 2006 trade deadline. "Obviously, I've got a job to do. If they end up trading me, and that's the route they go, that's the decision they make and it will be what's best for the team and what's best for the organization. Right now, I have to go out and produce and help us win until the day I'm not out there."
In the meantime, though, Nady is still searching for his swing so far this spring. After going 0-for-2 with a walk on Saturday, Nady has just one hit in his last 11 at-bats, and just three hits in 10 games overall. His .120 batting average is the lowest among all projected starters.
However, being healthy trumps any concern that Nady has about his production. If he can run pain-free, he said, the results will soon fall into place.
"I know the results haven't been there the last couple of days, but I've felt a lot better at the plate," Nady said. "I know now, as I start getting more consistent at-bats, that will help. I feel like the timing is getting closer."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.