Nava taking patient approach in knee rehab

'I don't want to get back and not be able to help,' Angels LF says

April 24th, 2016

ANAHEIM -- One of the many issues facing the Angels' offense stems from a lack of production out of left field, the position of utmost concern when the season began.

The Angels entered Saturday with only a .437 OPS from their left fielders, trailing only the Phillies for the lowest in the Major Leagues. Since Daniel Nava landed on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his left knee last Saturday, Rafael Ortega and Craig Gentry -- two guys who bring plus defense and speed, but not much power -- have combined for three hits in 27 at-bats.

Nava said his left knee is "moving in the right direction," but he has yet to progress beyond swinging off a batting tee and is still eight days away from being eligible to be activated off the DL. The 33-year-old switch-hitter believes he can be ready in a week or so, but his return could be prolonged if the Angels decide he needs to go on a rehab assignment.

Said Nava: "I'm going off their timetable that they have set to make sure that when I do come back, it'll be a non-issue."

Nava played through the same injury last season, prompting his mechanics to get out of whack and his production to suffer. The Angels' offense is in desperate need of someone like Nava, a critical on-base presence in front of Mike Trout if he's swinging the bat as well as he did with the Red Sox from 2012-14.

Nava showed signs of that throughout a very productive Spring Training, which saw him collect a 1.243 OPS in 19 games.

But now he must wait.

"I don't want to get back and not be able to help," Nava said. "Whether we go on a 10-game winning streak, or we're playing .500 or .700 ball, whatever it is, I want to come back and help the team, and not come back and be a hamper to the team. Doing it right is what I'm trying to do. That's the part that sucks, because sometimes you just have to do it slowly and do it right. That's where it's at right now."