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Salt Lake Bees fall to Tucson Padres; Efren Navarro receives Gold Glove award

SALT LAKE CITY — Efren Navarro got something he really wanted before the Salt Lake Bees' 8-4 loss to Tucson at Spring Mobile Ballpark.

The Salt Lake first baseman received a 2011 Rawlings Gold Glove Award from Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Conner in a pregame ceremony.

Navarro, who set a franchise record last season with a .998 fielding percentage (committing just three errors in 1,357 chances), is one of just nine honorees in all of Minor League Baseball.

"It's a big deal. It's something that I've always dreamed about. I always dream about having a Gold Glove," Navarro said while noting that he's always working on his defense. "The goal, obviously, is to hopefully have one in the bigs. But to have one now, it's amazing. It's a great accomplishment."

Bees manager Keith Johnson agrees.

"It's well deserved. His entire career he's been an elite fielder," Johnson said of Navarro. "For Rawlings to recognize him as the best Minor League Baseball first baseman is a huge tribute to him and the amount of work that he puts in and the amount of pride he takes in playing that position."

Navarro, who was taken by the Angels in the 50th round of the 2007 draft out of UNLV, approaches the game aggressively.

"I'd rather make an aggressive error than a non-aggressive error. I feel that's something that has always helped me out," said the 25-year-old who played in 133 games for Salt Lake last season. "I use the word 'fearless' when I'm out there."

In his first Triple-A campaign, Navarro had a hand in 1,285 putouts and 140 double plays — team records, along with his fielding percentage and chances.

Navarro wasn't too bad with his offense, either. He had a .317 batting average with 73 RBI, 36 doubles and 12 home runs during his tenure with the Bees.

The Lynwood, Calif., product credits the "small stuff" like one-hand drills and tee work for helping him become more productive at the plate.

It all paid off last September when Navarro received a September promotion to the majors. He appeared in eight games for the Angels and had two hits.

STREAKING SLUGGERS: Three Salt Lake sluggers continued streaks Saturday. Outfielder Mike Trout and catcher Hank Conger now have hits in 10 and eight games, respectively. Trout and outfielder Ryan Langerhans also have the distinction of having reached base safely in all 10 games this season.

NOTEBOOK: Salt Lake has committed three errors in back-to-back games. … The attendance was 4,330. … Bees pitcher Brad Mills made a quick trip to the majors after ex-Salt Lake pitcher Rich Thompson was designated for assignment. Mills joined the Angels for Saturday's 7-1 road win over the New York Yankees and warmed up in the bullpen in the eighth inning. He did not play, however, and was sent back to Salt Lake after the game to make room for former Bees pitcher Jerome Williams, who will start for the Angels on Sunday. … Tucson starter Matt Palmer was 9-11 with a 6.44 ERA last season with Salt Lake.


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