BOSTON -- Daniel Nava started his career with the Red Sox by belting a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in the Major Leagues. His time with the club will likely end in a much more unceremonious way, as the outfielder was designated for assignment on Thursday.
The roster move was necessitated by Boston's need to add some bullpen depth in light of the recent struggles of the rotation. Nava's role had decreased of late. After being activated from the disabled list on July 21, Nava didn't make any starts before Thursday's move.
"We needed the space to get two fresh arms here," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Unfortunately for Daniel, whose story is an incredible one, the path that he's traveled. There were some extended periods of success for him here. But as opportunity diminished, and the production was inconsistent, the decision to designate him to make the room was made."
Lefty reliever Tommy Layne was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, and the Red Sox activated right-hander Jean Machi (claimed off waivers from the Giants earlier this week) and promoted Jonathan Aro from Pawtucket.
The Red Sox paid just one dollar to purchase Nava's rights from the Chico Outlaws of the Independent League on Jan. 17, 2008.
Unheralded as he came up through the farm system, few people knew who Nava was when he was promoted to the Red Sox on June 12, 2010. But that changed when Nava belted that first-pitch grand slam against Joe Blanton in a Saturday afternoon game that was carried nationally by FOX.
Nava didn't play at all in the Majors in '11, and was even taken off the 40-man roster at one point. But he resurfaced again in '12, and became a key component on Boston's World Series-winning team of '13, hitting .303.
In '14, Nava got off to a tough start and was optioned to Triple-A multiple times. But he got hot in the second half.
He got off to another slow start this season, and tried to play through a left-thumb injury before going on the disabled list.
"There's no question that the thumb injury had an effect on his ability to repeat his swing," said Farrell. "So those things combined just never really allowed him to stay on track and be the consistent hitter he was in 2013."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.