03/20/11 11:42 AM ET
Nava among three Red Sox roster cuts
By Evan Drellich / MLB.com
Nava and catcher Mark Wagner were officially optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, while right-hander Matt Fox was reassigned to the Minors.
Nava, 28, saw his swing get long this spring, but also saw his defense come far. Starting against the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla., on Saturday, Nava robbed Andrew McCutchen with a long run and a leaping catch in front of the left-field wall. He had the presence of mind to get the ball back in quickly to second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who finished the relay and doubled off Neil Walker at first base.
Fittingly, manager Terry Francona said Sunday that left field is the position that he feels fits Nava best.
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Nava hit just .205 this spring, and his 14 strikeouts were a team high for Grapefruit League play entering Sunday. Francona, though, said Nava is aware of where he must improve.
"He knows he needs to shorten [his swing] up," Francona said. "Last year at this time, I'm wiling to bet no one ever asked me a Daniel Nava question. ... Just the fact that we're asking about Daniel Nava today means he's come so far."
Wagner, a 26-year-old in his seventh season in the Red Sox system, went just 3-for-18 this spring, but Francona said he has the defensive tools necessary to put him in the mix if the big league club needed a catcher in-season.
Health will be a key for Wagner, who played in just 36 games with Pawtucket last season because of a pair of trips to the disabled list thanks to a bothersome left wrist.
"I remember last spring, him catching a few games," Francona said. "It's Spring Training, we're kind of taking things for granted, it'd be a first-and-third situation and he wouldn't look for a sign. When he comes in, he'd go, 'Man, I'm sorry. It was going so fast. And this spring that didn't happen.' It's fun to see that progression."
The Sox claimed Fox off waivers at the end of last season and he made three appearances with the big league club. This spring, the 28-year-old allowed two earned runs in seven innings and five appearances. His strikeout total, nine, was second to only two others on the team entering Sunday: Josh Beckett (11) and Jon Lester (10).
The Red Sox have 40 players in Major League camp: 32 who are on the 40-man roster, and eight non-roster invitees.