Red Sox Notes: Napoli crushes first home run of spring

Red Sox Notes: Napoli crushes first home run of spring
March 3, 2013, 8:15 pm
Share This Post

FORT MYERS, Fla. – In just his second game and third at-bat this spring, Mike Napoli, leading off the second inning, gave the Red Sox the lead, turning on a 2-and-1 fastball from Yankees starter Adam Warren and depositing it well beyond the center field fence for his first home run.

“On pitches he gets extended out over the plate, he’s done that many times and we’re hopeful he’ll do that many times this year,” said manager John Farrell. “But just tremendous power to all fields. And when he gets extended on some pitches away from him, he can do a lot of damage.”

Napoli’s blast wouldn’t hold up, as the Sox lost, 5-2. But it was a glimpse of what a healthy Napoli -- who went 1-for-2 in the game, and is now 2-for-4 overall -- can do for the team.

“I think we’ve seen a lot of them go that way and really far over time,” Farrell said. “More than anything , it’s just good to see him swing the bat. In a very brief look with getting on the field recently he’s gaining comfort each day he works at first base. I think the fact he had a number of plays [in his first game Friday] night, it has allowed him to settle in a little bit quicker than maybe otherwise would have been the case if he didn’t’ get any plays. But for two games, four at-bats, we probably couldn’t ask for a whole lot more right now.”

Starter Ryan Dempster was the temporary beneficiary of the lead Napoli provided. Dempster summed up the blast with his typical wry humor.

“I thought it was awesome maybe like eight pitches later when the section of fans started clapping and we figured that’s when it landed,” Dempster said. “Wow, that ball was hit a long way, a long way. If you’re going to give them up, at least it’s not a wall scraper.”

  • Third baseman Drew Sutton was charged with two errors in the Yankees three-run sixth inning.
  • The Yankees lineup featured just one regular, left fielder Brett Gardner.
  • Andrew Miller pitched one inning, retiring the Yankees in the fifth on three strikeouts.
  • Jackie Bradley made his first start of the spring in right field. It was his second time at the position, though. He replaced Shane Victorino as a pinch-runner Saturday, then taking over for him in right.
  • Pedro Ciriaco replaced Bradley, his first time playing right field this spring.
  • The Red Sox were 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
  • Clubhouse attendants draped the lockers of players who left for the World Baseball Classic with the flags of their respective teams: Shane Victorino, United States; Alfredo Aceves and Oscar Villarreal, Mexico; and Xander Bogaerts, Netherlands. Jose De La Torre will play for Team Puerto Rico but was still in camp. The Sox host Puerto Rico in an exhibition game Tuesday night.