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Veteran outfielder Daniel Nava entered spring training as one of the Pirates top options to serve as the team’s fourth outfielder. That was the past and recovery from back surgery is now in Nava’s future.
According to MLB.com’s Adam Berry, the 35-year-old returned to Bradenton Thursday after undergoing back surgery last week. The timetable for his recovery is 10 to 12 weeks.
With Nava on the shelf, it certainly takes him out of the hunt for the Pirates fourth outfield spot, which could go to Bryce Brentz. Despite early spring struggles for Brentz, who you can learn more about here, he is out of options and would have to be placed on waivers if he doesn’t make the team out of spring training.
Now with Nava out of the discussion for a bench spot entering spring training, it really puts his future with the Pirates into a state of unknown. According to Berry, Nava hasn’t yet discussed his future with the Pirates front office or manager Clint Hurdle, but the veteran remains optimistic that he could eventually have an opportunity upon his return.
Nava, who told Berry that he is no longer feeling discomfort in his back that he felt last season and this offseason, could be a useful asset further into the regular season once he’s fully recovered. He is coming off a season in which he hit .301 in 80 games for the Phillies and could provide some veteran leadership in the Pirates clubhouse. But the problem isn’t based on whether he can contribute or serve as a leader.
The issue and uncertainty regarding Nava’s future with the Pirates revolves around his ability to recover, stay healthy and whether there will be room for him once he does come back.
The acquisition of Corey Dickerson, which pushes Adam Frazier into a bench role, makes it hard enough for guys like Jordan Luplow, Max Moroff and Bryce Brentz to have a spot on the MLB roster let alone an injured veteran like Nava.
I would personally like to see Nava get a chance to make an impact in a Pirates uniform once his recovery is all said and done. However, while you can never really say never, I don’t see that possibility becoming a reality.
Baseball talk on the web
- Major League Baseball and YouTube TV are expanding their partnership.
- Keith Law takes a look at MLB rookies who could make an impact in 2018.
- New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is leaning towards not competing in the 2018 home run derby after winning the event last season.
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