BRADENTON, Fla. -- On the same day it was revealed that Shane Victorino has once again decided to stop switch-hitting, Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava showed progress in his quest to become an exclusive left-handed hitter.
Facing a front-line lefty in Francisco Liriano, Nava was belted on the shoulder in his first at-bat and worked a walk in his next at-bat.
"That was a good test," said Nava, who played first base on Saturday. "Everyone knows what he can do. He introduced me to it real quick. I faced him last year right-handed. He's challenging. That's why he's one of the best pitchers in the National League."
Nava has always been a better hitter left-handed, and he's hoping that will translate -- even against southpaws.
"I think I'm starting to get an idea," said Nava. "As much as I don't want to take pitches, I want to see stuff. So I'm starting to get an idea of what I need to do left-handed to put myself in a better position to take good swings."
Nava scorched a liner to first base and was robbed of a hit in his third plate appearance, which came against righty Deolis Guerra.
"He's put up very good at-bats against some good left-handers -- and today was one of them," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I even think there's some benefit when he does face a right-hander. He's stayed on the left side of the plate, so his timing may be more readily spot on when a right-hander does come in the game. He hasn't looked uncomfortable against left-handers. He still tracks and sees the ball very well."
In Nava's final at-bat of the day, lefty Tony Watson struck him out.
"Tony Watson is a tough guy to face. As much as you'd rather face a lefty who is a little easier, he's a good guy to face -- and they say this guy is one of the best," Nava said. "And [then you] just see how comfortable you feel. I'm realistic. I understand what lefty-lefty is for me, in terms of this team. It's not necessarily something that John is counting on, and it's just more like, 'Let's see what happens.' It could be an added bonus or not."
With Victorino deciding to go back to hitting righty only, Nava might wind up being the only left-handed hitter in Boston's outfield.
Ian Browne is the Red Sox beat reporter for MLB.com. He has been covering the club since 2002.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.