Red Sox notes: Napoli expected to return Sunday

Red Sox notes: Napoli expected to return Sunday
June 2, 2014, 7:45 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

CLEVELAND -- When Mike Napoli is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday, there will no rehab stints in the minor leagues awaiting him.

Instead, the Sox expect him to return to the lineup Sunday night in Comerica Park against the Detroit Tigers.

"Everything projects to Sunday,'' said John Farrell. "He's doing all baseball activities, with no restrictions. The ailments he was dealing with -- the calf, the foot, those type of things -- have cleared up and the swelling in the finger has gone down. I know he's chomping at the bit to get back into the lineup right now.

"Everything points to him being active on Sunday (without a rehab stint).''

Outfielder Shane Victorino (hamstring), by contrast, is going to be a while.

"He's beginning some ground-base work,'' said Farrell. "That's light running. As far as any projection on the at-bats, it's still premature.''

Meanwhile, Mike Carp (broken foot) is going to be in a boot for a week and will need a week of treatment following that before he can begin baseball activity.

"We're still a little ways away from him being back to us,'' said Farrell.

Brock Holt made his second straight start at first base, and will continue to play there until Napoli is ready.

When that happens, the Sox will have to get creative in finding playing time for him. One option being explored is trying him in the outfield.

"He's starting to get some work in BP, running down some balls in the outfield,'' said Farrell. "We're going to look at every possibility to keep him in the lineup and if that means one of the outfield spots, we're certainly open-minded to it.''

Holt would most likely be tried in left field first.

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Clay Buchholz was scheduled to throw a simulated game Monday afternoon at Progressive Field, but that was postponed.

"We've adjusted the plan that we originally set out,'' said Farrell, "to take advantage of the time to keep working on the delivery, items that have been identified. There was some work done in the bullpen (Monday); there'll be another bullpen on Wednesday with that sim game being pushed back to Saturday now.''

Felix Doubront (shoulder) also threw a bullpen Monday.

"We're going to continue to ramp up the number of pitches thrown,'' said Farrell, "and start to incorporate some simulated innings before we get him out on a date for a rehab assignment. That's not been identified yet.''

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Daniel Nava was back with the team after a brief exile to create roster space for the activation of Rubby De La Rosa, but not in the lineup. Nava is hitting .130 with two homers and three RBI.

"We know there's a good hitter in there,'' said Farrell, "but the bottom-line results haven't been maybe what he's realized and produced in his time in the big leagues. Last year, was part of the most productive left field (platoon) in baseball and we're working to get that back.

"He provides us with some versatility defensively and yet we've got to get him back on track.''

Farrell traced some of Nava's struggles to a bad habit he began in spring training of spreading his feet too wide in his stance, resulting in him lifting balls in the air too frequently.

"When he's best, it's a line drive approach that's going to (result) in some occasional power,'' he said. "When he went down to Pawtucket, he narrowed up his base to try to stay on top of the ball. Along with that, I fully recognize consistent opportunity is needed (to fix the issue) and yet, we've had some other guys that have either maintained their performance or stepped up and they've taken some of those at-bats away.''