SALT LAKE CITY— First baseman Efren Navarro has got himself in quite a pickle, so to speak.
A recipient of a Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2011, Navarro is coming into the final year of his contract with the Los Angeles Angels and is faced with a pivotal decision—what happens next?
"The cliche' expression is there's 31 other ball clubs out there that you are playing for," said Bees manager Keith Johnson after the Bees 6-1 loss on Sunday afternoon. "(Navarro) has proven to them that last year being a Gold Glove winner wasn't a fluke, and that he's a guy that can hit in the middle of the lineup and can produce at this level."
Navarro, who set a franchise record in 2011 with a .998 fielding percentage, is one of just nine honorees in all of Minor League Baseball to receive the Golden Glove.
The first baseman has his sights set on the Dominican Republic, and will trade the Rocky Mountains for the Caribbean Sea as a backdrop for another season of minor league baseball.
"As of right now, I am going to play 1A ball in Dominican with Santiago, which is a really well known — they're like the Yankees out there," said Navarro. " The goal is to play the whole entire season. I really want to improve, get better and hopefully open up some people's eyes."
Sunday also marked the 140th game for Navarro this season, eclipsing the franchise record of 139 games set by former Bee and Angels slugger Mark Trumbo in 2010.
"It takes a lot of work obviously," said Navarro. "In the offseason you want to go with mindset of 'prepare yourself physically and mentally.' At least to 100 percent where you can play 163 games."
The manager was vocal in his praise for Navarro's milestone, and said the guys in the locker room stand behind their first baseman.
"A lot of people can probably look at his game and take it for granted, but I guarantee you the rest of his infielders and pitchers don't," said Johnson. "They appreciate everything that he does, and the prow that he takes in it for him to do it for 140 games."
NOTEBOOK: Brad Mills took the loss (5-10) Sunday, giving up just two runs on three hits through seven innings. The bullpen allowed four runs and a pair of homers in the eighth inning. The Bees tallied just four hits on the day.
ATTENDANCE: The field was still wet at Spring Mobile Ballpark, and a crowd of 5,759 fans enjoyed a peaceful 75-degree day at the park.