FORT MYERS, Fla. – Mike Napoli made his Grapefruit League debut with the Red Sox Friday night against the Pirates, starting at first base and batting fourth.
Napoli played four innings at first base and went 1-for-2 with an RBI single and a run scored in a 5-2 victory over the Pirates.
“Baby steps,” he said with a smile, sitting in front of his locker Friday afternoon before the game. “But going in the right direction.”
The Sox have held Napoli back this spring, to manage the avascular necrosis that was diagnosed in both hips after his physical this offseason.
“He’s passed all the physical tests that we’ve put him through,” said manager John Farrell. “There’s been no discomfort of any kinds, no restrictions. And even when he was taking [batting practice] in the offseason, it was apparent that his lower half was free. We’re looking forward to getting him into the flow of innings starting tonight.”
- Asked his thoughts on the World Baseball Classic, Farrell replied:
“In an ideal world I think it’d be great if it could be placed in the middle of a season, for obvious reasons of more from the starting pitching standpoint, guys being ready to go this early in the season and being asked to compete at a high level. But I’m sure there are varying opinions on the tournament. I think the tournament itself is great, just from the growth globally. But from my standpoint I think it’d be great if it was done midsummer.”
- David Ortiz has been out of camp for the past few days, returning home to deal with a personal matter. Farrell said the designated hitter was travelling back to Fort Myers Friday afternoon.
- Farrell said Alfredo Aceves has been a “model citizen” since his odd performance in his first live BP session earlier this spring.
“I think it’s important for players to be themselves and as long as being yourself doesn’t start to take away from our team,” Farrell said. “That’s when conversations like that come into play, to understand that we are 25 people working in the same direction, and how you sacrifice in some ways to give to the team. That’s a priority. ”
Unlike most starting pitchers, Aceves returned to the dugout after receiving treatment when he came out of the game in Port Charlotte on Monday against the Rays.
“There’s no denying his competitive nature,” Farrell said. “There’s no denying his passion for the game. That’s clear. And yet , we’re all individuals, and that’s where we look to blend people of all walks into that same clubhouse.”
- Farrell said Bryce Brentz, who is not in major league camp after shooting himself in the leg while cleaning his gun in January, is not yet doing full baseball activities, but is progressing.
“He’s going through baseball activity,” Farrell said. “We fully expect that at some point in camp he’d be in games here. Without an exact date, but we’re hopeful that he would be able to get back to full baseball activity and be in games on our side.
Farrell said Brentz is expected to be fully available by the time minor league games begin on March 13.