Spring training notes: Napoli to receive follow-up MRI

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Spring training notes: Napoli to receive follow-up MRI

FORT MYERS, Fla. Mike Napoli is scheduled to undergo a follow-up MRI on Thursday. Napoli, who signed a one-year, 5 million contract with the Red Sox as a free agent in January, was found to have avascular necrosis in both hips during his physical with the team in December.

He has been restricted from doing any impact activities. Manager John Farrell said the teams hope is the results of the next MRI will allow Napoli to take on more impact and baseball activities.

And thatll be a gradual increase in baseball activities, Farrell said. Right now theres no impact or pounding, so to speak. Well get the evaluation of his doctor in New York once its reviewed, the MRI results, and then therell be a work plan laid out, not only volume but the type of work that will follow from that point.

Farrell is optimistic Napoli will be ready for Opening Day.

Right now everything still points to him being ready for opening day, Farrell said. Thursday and the next couple of days is going to give us a lot of information on how we can start his progression with more on field baseball activity.

Despite Will Middlebrooks break-out rookie season, which was cut short by a fractured right wrist, Farrell said there are a few things he would like the third baseman to work on.

I think theres areas defensively, just with his consistency of the footwork, maybe his range to his glove side I know are focal points that hell work with Brian Butterfield at here, Farrell said. But once again, when you talk about a young talented player still going through that cycle and full season for the first time well get to know more about him as well. I know one thing, Im glad hes here.

An area Farrell would like the team to work on is working counts better. Which may be accomplished just by the turnover the team has undergone this offseason.

I think when you look at the change in personnel probably had as much to do with that as anything, Farrell said. And the hitters that have been brought in here, the position players that have been brought in here, theres a distinct track record along those lines.

Daniel Nava, Mitch Maier, Lyle Overbay, and Mauro Gomez all worked out at first base today.

They will continue to take ground balls because as we mentioned yesterday theres that left-handed hitterback-up first basemanleft fielder thats one of the positions that you see those four guys in competition for, Farrell said. So barring any other additions well get as many reps as we can from each of those guys.

Left-hander Felix Doubront, who has been held back because of shoulder weakness, threw from 75 feet on Wednesday. Farrell said Doubront is expected to throw from 90 and 120 feet on Thursday, and remains on track to throw from a mound on Feb. 20.

All the position players, along with pitchers and catchers, have reported to camp except for right-fielder Shane Victorino. Jacoby Ellsbury has been in but has not worked out on the field yet. The first full-squad workout is scheduled for Friday.

Bob Tewksbury, the Sox sports psychology coach, is conducting mental skills clinics with the players. He met with starting pitchers Wednesday, and is scheduled to meet with the relievers on Thursday and position players after that.

Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"

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Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"

NEW YORK -- Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 5-1 loss to the Yankees:

QUOTES

* "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving." David Ortiz, unaccustomed to ovations and cheering at Yankee Stadium.

* "I thought he threw a high number of strikes. There was good swing-and-miss to his changeup and he took the opportunity and showed well." John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "It's just taking good swings in good counts. It's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose." Xander Bogaerts, who has tripled his homer output since last year.

NOTES:

* With his fourth-inning homer, Xander Bogaerts tripled his home run total from last year, improving from seven to 21.

* The season series between the Red Sox and Yankees ended with the Sox winning 11 of the 18 games.

* The Boston bullpen has given up eight runs in the last two nights after allowing only seven this month before Wednesday night.

* The Sox suffered only their second sweep of the season. They were also swept by the Tigers in July.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. has reached base safely in his last 13 games.

* Junichi Tazawa has contributed seven straight scoreless outings.

* Robbie Ross Jr. allowed a season-high three walks -- all in the same inning.

* Henry Owens has a career ERA of 8.53 against the Yankees.

* David Ortiz went hitless (0-for-11) in his final series at Yankee Stadium.

STARS:

1) CC Sabathia

Sabathia turned back the clock and looked like a far younger version of himself, pitching into the eighth and allowed just a run on four hits while striking out eighth.

2) Jacoby Ellsbury

Ellsbury had a hand in the first Yankee run -- walk, stolen base, run scored -- and doubled home the second run in the fifth inning.

3) Xander Bogaerts

The Sox had little offense on the night, but Bogaerts smoked a solo homer in the fourth to account for their only run.

First impressions: Owens improves, Scott scuffles

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First impressions: Owens improves, Scott scuffles

NEW YORK -- First impression from Red Sox' 5-1 loss to the Yankees:

* Henry Owens looked improved over earlier starts.

The lefty took the place of Drew Pomeranz Thursday night and pitched into the fifth inning, allowing two runs on four hits.

Talent evaluators believe that Owens has the stuff necessary to be a back-end starter in the big leagues if -- and that's a big qualifier -- he can command his pitches.

Alas, that's often been an issue for Owens, who averaged 3.4 walks per nine innings last season in Boston and, in four starts earlier this season, a bloated 9.3 walks per nine innings.

On Thursday night, Owens showed far better control, issuing just two walks. Further, he managed to pitch ahead in the count, giving him an advantage against the New York lineup. And mixing his changeup and fastball, he fanned six.

* Robby Scott had a bad night at a bad time.

Scott's in the mix to make the Red Sox post-season roster as a lefty specialist, competing against the likes of Fernando Abad.

He had been effective in most of his previous outings, with no runs allowed in six appearances with five strikeouts and a walk.

But brought in to face Brian McCann with runners on first and second and one out in the sixth, he yielded a single to center.

After getting Aaron Hicks on a flyout, he walked rookie Tyler Austin to force in a run, then heaved a wild pitch that scored another run before retiring Brett Gardner on a flyout.

Keeping in mind that Scott wouldn't be asked to face that many righthanders were he to make the post-season roster, Thursday's outing wasn't helpful in making his case.

* Yoan Moncada is gone for now.

The Red Sox announced that the rookie third baseman had traveled to Fort Myers to prepare for his upcoming assignment in the Arizona Fall League next month.

Expectations were high for Moncada when he joined the Red Sox on Labor Day weekend in Oakland and when he collected multiple hits in each of his first two starts, it appeared as though he would get most of the playing time at third for the remainder of the season.

But not long after, Moncada began chasing breaking balls out of the strike zone and looking very much overmatched at the plate. HE struck out in nine consecutive at-bats.

That doesn't mean that Moncada won't someday -- likely in the not-too-distant future -- be a very good major league player. But it is a reminder of how big a jump it is to go from Double A.

And, it served to point out how remarkable Andrew Benintendi has been in making that same jump.