Right-handed-hitting Navarro shifts to outfield

Right-handed-hitting Navarro shifts to outfield

Right-handed-hitting Navarro shifts to outfield
BOSTON -- Yamaico Navarro made his first Major League start in the outfield on Friday night against the Orioles.

With left-handers hitting just .213 against Baltimore starter Zach Britton, Josh Reddick and J.D. Drew got the day off, and Darnell McDonald moved to right field, leaving the right-handed-hitting Navarro in left and batting ninth.

"He's got a good clock defensively," said manager Terry Francona. "Like when the ball's hit to him at short or third, I'm sure it helps to have an arm like that, but you never see him rush. He's got a real good idea, real good awareness of where the runner is. It seems like that's kind of translated out to the outfield as well."

Navarro had never played the outfield at any level until this season, when coaches started to notice his ability in Spring Training. He played 11 games there with Triple-A Pawtucket without making an error.

"We saw him run balls down this spring in BP, and a lot of guys do it, but it seemed like, as an organization, all of a sudden we were like, 'Maybe we ought to think about doing this,'" Francona said. "But we wanted to get his feet on the ground in Triple-A first. He started out hitting real well, then he got hurt. Then they moved him to both left and right -- more left than right. But they say he's been good."

The 23-year-old is hitting .286 (4-for-14) since being called up Saturday. His only home run came off a left-handed pitcher.

Jason Mastrodonato is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.