Daniel Nava

Daniel Nava has contemplated switch from switch-hitting

Rob Bradford
January 12, 2015 - 4:01 pm

It'€™s a conversation that usually makes switch-hitters cringe. Why don'€™t some of these guys just give up the practice of hitting from both sides, and focus on the skill-set they excel at? Initially, former Red Sox outfielder Bobby Kielty would bristle at such an idea until he finally committed to exclusively hitting from the right side. Jason Varitek never abandoned switch-hitting even though his career batting average was 30 points better as a righty (and 50 points higher his final four seasons). Daniel Nava, however, doesn'€™t mind broaching the subject. And for good reason: he has thought about making the switch away from switch-hitting. (Although he currently has no plans to do make such a move.) "Oh yeah," said Nava when asked Monday by phone about if he had contemplated hitting exclusively from the left side. "I didn't think about it too much in 2013, but then last year I definitely thought about it. I've talked with [Red Sox hitting coach] Chili [Davis] about it before when I struggled in 2011. I asked him what he thought I should do because sometimes I felt terrible from one side. He told me you never feel the same on both sides, but there's definitely a side I had more of a challenge with." For his career, Nava is a .293 hitter from the left side, while totaling just a .203 batting average as a righty. Last season it became even more extreme, with the outfielder managing a .293-.159 split. In the final three months of the '14 season, Nava hit .321 from the left side, among the best in the majors over that span. And now, with the Red Sox flush with righty-hitting outfielders, the 31-year-old is on the verge of embracing what is working for him. "I have thought about it. Is it something I'm going to do? I don't know. It's a tough thing to do," he said. "[Shane] Victorino did it a couple of years ago, just dropping it. It definitely runs through my head. It's definitely something I'm considering doing, but at the same time it's something I've never done. Would I even be effective lefty on lefty, or would it be better hitting against lefties from the right side. I would have to go out and give it a test run." Despite the numbers, Nava'€™s hesitancy is somewhat understandable. It has been quite a while, after all, since he stared down a lefty pitcher as a lefty hitter. "Probably Little League," he said when asked the last time he didn'€™t hit from both sides of the plate. "I've been a switch-hitter my whole life. Hopefully I raked in Little League, but I don't' really remember."