Rays pencil in Navarro at No. 2 spot
Catcher won't try to replicate Crawford's speed on bases
BOSTON -- With Carl Crawford not starting Tuesday night, Rays manager Joe Maddon went with a new look by inserting Dioner Navarro in the No. 2 spot in the order, the spot normally reserved for Crawford.
"He reminds me a lot of Carl Crawford," said Maddon with a chuckle. "The thing about that is, [Navarro is] a switch-hitter. There's a lot of things you can do with him. He plays a pretty complete game. He's not fast, but he's a very good baserunner. If you look at his on-base percentage hitting left-handed [.404], I'm just trying to get people on base in front of the three, four, five guys."
Navarro said the only time he remembered hitting second was in a Spring Training game.
"And I hit a double and a bomb," Navarro said. "Let's see what happens. I think I'm more surprised than anybody on the team [about batting second]."
Navarro is off to a great start, hitting .352 with a home run and 18 RBIs.
"Yeah, I feel good," Navarro said. "I still have to do my thing. I guess having those big dogs behind me [in the order], it might help. I might go 4-for-4, I might go 0-for-4, you never know."
Just don't look for Navarro to try and fill Crawford's shoes in the base-stealing department.
"I know my limitations," Navarro said. "And they know my limitations, too. I don't think they're going to be disappointed if I don't run as fast as Crawford."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.