Nava plays the guitar in his church with his brother on drums. Daniel’s father is Coach Don Nava, a life fitness coach who has been a featured speaker at several New Canaan Society retreats.
Daniel Nava made his Major League debut with the Boston Red Sox on June 12, 2010 at Fenway Park as the starting left fielder against the Philadelphia Phillies. He was called up to help with the team’s outfield situation, with two players on the disabled list and another optioned to the minor leagues for more playing time. On the first pitch he saw, Nava hit a grand slam, making him only the second player to do so against the first pitch of his Major League career, and the first player in Major League Baseball history to achieve a grand slam on their first-ever MLB career at-bat, while in interleague play.
Daniel Nava was born in Redwood City, California and played baseball at St. Francis High School in Mountain View. After an opportunity to walk-on to the Santa Clara University baseball team, he failed to make the team as a player and became the team equipment manager.
He left Santa Clara after two years because he could no longer afford the tuition. He then enrolled in the College of San Mateo (junior college) and tried out for the baseball team on the encouragement of an old friend he happened to run into at a gym. While at the College of San Mateo, he became a Junior College All-American. Later Santa Clara wanted him back and eventually offered him a full scholarship. He hit .395 with an on-base percentage of .494 in his lone season with the Broncos, both tops in the West Coast Conference, and earned first-team All-WCC honors.
When Daniel graduated, he went undrafted and tried out with the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League. The Outlaws cut him after a tryout but then signed him a year later to fill a void. In 2007, Nava was named the number one independent league prospect by Baseball America, and the Red Sox paid the Outlaws $1 for the rights to Nava, with an agreement that the Outlaws would receive an additional $1,499 if the Red Sox kept Nava after spring training.
He played for high Single-A Lancaster in 2008 before being called up to Double-A Portland in 2009 and eventually AAA Pawtucket in 2010.