SARASOTA, Fla. -- Mike Napoli passed another baserunning test Wednesday afternoon and is set to make his spring training debut Friday against Pittsburgh.
"He's on tap to start and get a couple of at-bats," said John Farrell. "He'll play first base. We're looking forward to getting him on the field."
Farrell said that Napoli will be told "to play under control if he gets on base. The one thing we're still being cautious with is the sliding. We're not in a position to say don't slide. But if he does, just give himself ample time to stop before jarring himself on the bag."
Napoli has put time in at first base, trying to get comfortable at what, for him, is a relatively new position.
"It's probably (about getting accustomed to) the cuts and relays as much as it is just fielding a ground ball. By his own admission, he's talked about, when he was with Texas or sparingly with the Angels, he was put out there knowing that he was a catcher first.
"But in this case, where he's been able to go through the drill work and talk with (infield instructor Brian Butterfield), that's put a lot of those unknowns a little bit at ease."
Farrell said Napoli's catching background will help make the transition.
"Already, you can see his hands work very cleanly with balls in the dirt," said Farrell. "He plays low to the ground, by virtue of having spent so many years behind the plate. For a guy his size, he's still got quick feet. He's agile and in time, I think he'll become a very good first baseman."