Nava soaking it all in after historic debut
Boston outfielder back in lineup after hitting slam on first pitch
BOSTON -- Amid his long and winding journey from undrafted prospect to the Minor Leagues, Daniel Nava never got much attention or notoriety from anyone aside from his family or friends. But life became different very fast for Nava, who on Saturday became the second player in Major League history to hit a grand slam on the first pitch of his career.
Not only did Nava accomplish the extremely rare feat just hours after being promoted from Triple-A, but he also did it for the Red Sox, a team that has an enormous following. Dining at a steak house with his parents on Saturday night, Nava was stunned that fans recognized him.
"One or two people came up and said, 'Congratulations. We saw what you did on TV.' I was like, 'What?' I had a hat on and was like, 'Don't worry about it.' Then someone came up and said, 'Great hit. Can you sign my ticket stub?' That was great. That never happened to me before."
The beauty of it all for Nava is that he was right back in manager Terry Francona's lineup Sunday, again batting ninth and playing left field.
"It's awesome," Nava said. "And that's the great thing about baseball. You have a great game and you have to go out and play again. Or you have a bad game and the next day you have to go out and do it again. So you have plenty of opportunities to redeem yourself or keep something good going."
After that opening grand slam and double into the gap, Nava's phone didn't stop buzzing.
"It said I missed 140 texts. I probably don't have that many friends. It's probably my brother 90 times in a row," quipped Nava.
Despite his heroics, Nava nearly wasn't in the lineup Sunday. But with Mike Cameron needing regular breaks because of his lower abdomen injury, Francona gave the center fielder the day off.
"We were going to play [Cameron] in center and [Darnell McDonald] in left," Francona said. "Then, the more we talked about it last night and we talked to Cam, with the quick day game today, even though he didn't play yesterday, day off tomorrow, we've got a chance to protect him a little bit and maybe build, instead of reaching for a little bit further. I don't think he disagreed. I know he wants to play, but I think he understands that we're trying to help, so we did go ahead and put Nava back in there."
If anyone can relate to the feel-good nature of Nava's ascent to folk-hero status, it is McDonald, who spent more than 12 years in the Minor Leagues and hit a pinch-hit two-run homer and a walk-off single in his Red Sox debut back on April 20.
"That was amazing," McDonald said. "He didn't waste any time. That's the way to do it. Go out there and don't let yourself think about anything. It was great to see. I'm happy for him. It's great to see someone who has worked hard and gone a different route. Even someone like myself can appreciate what he's had to do to get here. It's good to see something like that happen for someone that's worked hard."
Early optimism on Dice-K
BOSTON -- A day after being scratched just minutes before his start, Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka was optimistic that the right forearm injury is minor.
"Fortunately, they looked at him and everything tested out really well," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "It's very encouraging. I think they'd like to let him have the day off tomorrow and let him pick up a ball and get back at it. If there's difficulties, I know there's tests they need to do but I don't think the medical people feel that [an MRI] is warranted."
Matsuzaka's disabled list stint is retroactive to June 8. He will miss at least one more start, but could return as early as June 23, when the Red Sox face the Rockies in Denver.
Meanwhile, the team's other starter on the disabled list -- ace Josh Beckett -- again played catch Sunday, moving out to 90 feet.
"He feels real good," said Francona.
Youkilis rests; Lowell starts at first
BOSTON -- Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis was not in the lineup Sunday, as manager Terry Francona decided it was best he rest his right elbow. Youkilis had missed Friday's game with back spasms and was hit on the ulnar nerve in the bottom of the sixth inning on Saturday. Mike Lowell started at first base.
"A little sore," Francona said. "He's OK. I think, with what's happened this week, with his back and getting plunked yesterday and having Mikey Lowell here, I think it made some sense to give him the day, and us having a day off tomorrow."
Youkilis should be back in the lineup on Tuesday, when the Red Sox open a three-game series against the D-backs at Fenway Park.
BOSTON -- The Red Sox Scholars Class of 2010 was recognized in an on-field ceremony before Sunday's game, lining up along the bases with Red Sox players.
The 25 new Red Sox Scholars, who are entering sixth grade in the fall, are all academically talented, financially challenged middle school students in the Boston Public Schools. This is the eighth class of Red Sox Scholars, supported by the Red Sox Foundation. Overall, there are 200 Red Sox scholars.
This year's class is as follows:
Lillie Acoff from Mozart Elementary School (Roslindale); Kristopher Aime from Hale Elementary School (Roslindale); Marlon Allen from Roosevelt Elementary School (Hyde Park); Yearlson Baez from Sarah Greenwood K-8 School (Dorchester); Damaris Berrio from Bradley Elementary (East Boston);
Benjymino Celestin from Mattahunt Elementary (Mattapan); Amber Chen from Ohrenberger K-8 School (West Roxbury); Koraliz Cruz from Jackson Mann K-8 School (West Roxbury); Tyschelle Daniels from Mattahunt School (Mattapan);
John DiGiacomo from Umana Barnes Academy (East Boston); Vanessa Forbes from Gardner Pilot Academy (Allston); Dejon French from Winthrop Elementary School (Dorchester); Sebastian Jaramillo from Bradley Elementary (East Boston); Adama Kaba from Mather Elementary School (Mattapan);
Veena Lagare from Ohrenberger Elementary (West Roxbury); Brian McMahon from Murphy Elementary School (South Boston); Manuala Medina from John Winthrop School (Dorchester); Tristan Nahim from Mozart Elementary School (Roslindale); Adrina Patino from Ohrenberger Elementary School (West Roxbury); Esther Saint Fort from Kenny Elementary School (Dorchester); Yrvine Thelusma from Henry Grew Elementary School (Hyde Park);
Amy Trifoni from Ohrenberger School (West Roxbury); Dylan Wilson from Mozart Elementary School (Roslindale); Christina Yee from Josiah Quincy Elementary School (Chinatown); Maya Young from Ohrenberger Elementary School (West Roxbury).
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.