MINNEAPOLIS – First baseman Mike Napoli is not in the Red Sox starting lineup Friday night against the Twins. It is the first time he has not been in the starting lineup this season. He has started 37 games at first base, and 4 as the designated hitter.
Before the game Napoli joked that it felt weird to not be in the lineup, that he wasn’t sure what he was going to do during the game.
It was just a day off for Napoli, manager John Farrell said. The Sox are in the midst of a stretch of 20 straight games, which began Tuesday and goes through June 2, before they get another day off.
“In these next few series, kind of rotate everybody through to give a day down,” Farrell said. “So, just trying to plan accordingly based on matchups and what might be a day needed.”
But Napoli, who leads the majors with 26 extra-base hits and 18 doubles, is also in the midst of 5-for-26 (.192) stretch since May 9, including 1-for-his last 11, with a double and seven strikeouts. How a player is currently performing isn’t the only consideration in giving a day off, Farrell said, but it is one of the considerations.
“I don’t think that’s the only factor,” Farrell said. “Certainly that’s one of them, but you also look at when the guy that steps in for him might have a matchup that’s advantageous to him. So there’s a few things that you take into account. But priority is to find a [time] to get a guy off his feet when needed.”
Mike Carp is playing first base, batting eighth in Napoli’s place.
* Catcher David Ross, who was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list on May 12, is still experiencing symptoms. He was originally supposed to be re-examined during the week, but that has been pushed back till Monday. Initially, the Sox hoped Ross would join them on the three-city, nine-game trip. But, asked if they would wait until their return to Fenway on Thursday, Farrell replied, “Likely, at this point.”
* Farrell said he has talked to Joel Hanrahan several times before and after the right-hander underwent Tommy John and flexor tendon surgery, including Friday afternoon.
“He’s in a cast and will be for 10 days,” Farrell said. “He feels good from the standpoint that the procedure’s behind him. He knows that it was obviously a complete rebuild in some ways. So he’ll start the rehab process on day 11.
“[The rehab process will] probably take the standard 12 months on the Tommy John procedure right now. So I don’t know if that’s more or less because it affects the tendon. Any time we’re talking about a major surgery for a pitcher, there’s no template on their return. So most importantly I think he can rest with some peace of mind that everything that could have been done has been by the best in the business.”
Farrell said Hanrahan will begin the rehab near his home in the Dallas area and will check into Boston periodically.