Results tagged ‘ Mike Napoli ’
The Red Sox had another first today, facing Major League competition for the first time. The opponent? The Minnesota Twins.
Prospect dazzles: The most noteworthy development was the lasers that purred out of Anthony Ranaudo’s right hand. The top prospect mowed down all six Twins hitters he faced, striking out four of them.
Ranaudo doesn’t come across as cocky. But he does have the type of confidence that is usually necessary to succeed at the Major League level.
“I don’t really want to say I was surprised, but maybe a little surprised because some of them were up in the zone, even some early in the count. Obviously I’ve got to do a better job of bringing the ball down, but I wouldn’t say I was surprised,” Ranaudo said. “That’s what I’m going for every time I go out there — either swing and misses or weak contact or getting outs. I don’t like to use the word surprised, but I guess maybe in that context, some of them were up in the zone, but it felt good to get those swing-and-misses, for sure.”
Miller rusty: Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Andrew Miller looked rusty pitching in a game for the first time since breaking his left foot on July 6 of last season. The lanky lefty walked three of the five batters he faced.
“It takes him some time to time up that delivery,” said manager John Farrell. “Six-foot-eight, there’s a lot of moving parts there. It’s good for us to see him on the mound after coming off last early July because of the torn ligament in the foot. Spring Training is here to get him online.”
Offense quiet: Aside from Mike Napoli, the Red Sox didn’t have much to show in the way of offense. The cleanup man went 2-for-2. The other regulars who played, Jonny Gomes, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks, were all hitless. Farrell could only laugh when WBZ radio reporter Jonny Miller jokingly asked him if he was worried about the offense.
Saturday’s info: A.J. Pierzynski will play his first game in a Boston uniform on Saturday against his original former team, the Minnesota Twins. Daniel Nava, slowed by a neck strain, will play his first game this spring. And Grady Sizemore will play for the second time in three days as he continues his comeback attempt.
Sometimes you learn the most about a player from what his top rival thinks of him.
Several Red Sox players, and manager John Farrell, commented on Jeter announcing he will retire after the 2014 season.
“In some ways, bittersweet. I think we all have enjoyed watching him play, the way he’s carried himself, the way he’s performed in between the lines. And yet you realize that players don’t go on forever. I guess in a word, he epitomizes the word professional, in just the success he’s had and the way he’s conducted himself on and off the field in a city like New York and to do it in the style that he has — he’s synonymous with winning and just a Yankee legend.”
How about game-planning against Jeter?
“Oh, like many good hitters, you couldn’t take the same approach each time.You had to find ways to stay ahead of him and his thought process. He was just a model of consistency. When you think of the guy, he’s 10th on the all-time hit list, he’s 120 to becoming the number six guy. All things wrapped up in one, you’re talking about elite performance, durability, long-term career, multi-world champion. He sets the bar for the way guys go about their game.”
Jeter’s last regular season game will be at Fenway Park.
“If it wasn’t in New York, maybe it’s fitting that it’s in Boston given the number of series he’s played both regular season, postseason — he was in the middle of a rivalry for 20 years. “
“A little bit surprised, but the guy has done about as much as he can do in this game and … First-ballot Hall of Famer. Growing up idolizing him as a player, he was the ideal shortstop, it was fun to get to pitch to him a couple times I got to. And also fun to watch what he could do.”
“He was as down to earth as down to earth gets. For somebody to be the captain of that team and that franchise for as long as he was there, being able to keep everything on an even-keel, do everything as a professional, it was pretty special.
“He was obviously always a threat first pitch of the game — you saw him a number of times hit the first pitch of the game out of the park. Oo I had to spot up pitch and hopefully get him to chase something out of the zone. That’s what’s hard about him – everybody says his hole is down and away, but you see how many hits he gets to the opposite field, so he’s just a tough guy to pitch to overall, and just a really good baseball player.”
Farewell tour, “I have no idea. I’m sure it’s going to be really special. There wasn’t one person in the game that disliked him in any way. He’ll get the best of everything at every park he goes through throughout the season. It’s what he deserves too. I wish him the best of luck.”
Last regular season game for jeter at Fenway: “It’s going to be crazy. There’s not going to be any boos in the stadium. He’s going to be treated well in his farewell. It’ll be a special day for everybody.”
Interactions with Jeter: “When they’re taking BP he’ll pass me, that’s basically how it’s been. The last couple years it’s, ‘Hey Buch, how you doing? Good start last night,’ or whatever. It’s never been sit-down dinner or anything but he’s always been really personable to me.”
“His consistency speaks for itself. The type of he player he was to everyone, whether you were a rookie or 10-year vet. I know for me, he knew that was my first season in 2010, he said congrats and everything like that. It means a lot when it’s your first time. We had a lot of rookies on the team and they all said the same thing.”
“Clutch. As clutch as they come. I think everyone admires a guy like that, who can do what he does in the regular season and then obviously in the postseason on the biggest stage, and he did that consistently.”
“I think at least for my generation, that’s all you know. I’m sure prior generations can say the same about any great on any team, but certainly for the Yankees and a lot of guys that grew up watching Derek Jeter play for the extent that he’s played.
Last reg. season game against Red Sox: “I haven’t gone that far down the schedule yet. It’s going to be a special day. I hope for his sake his last game would be at home in front of the Yankee faithful, but either way it’s probably fitting that it’s either at home for the Yankees or against the Red Sox.
“After the year he had last year, battling injuries, trying to come back, I don’t know. He knows his body best. It’s kind of sad to see this is his last year, but, my God. I mean, growing up, looking at a professional athlete, you’d probably want to take a good look at his career and how he handled it.”
“Just the way he went about his business. He played for a big-market team that won five championships. He came to work every day and handled himself well. It’s sad to see him go.”
“I got to talk to him at my first All-Star game. If I don’t really know you, I’m not going to go up to you and try to talk to you or anything. But I definitely watched the way he played and the way he went about his business.
“It’s crazy. The run they had. You looked at the Yankees, you looked at those guys.”
Last game against Red Sox, “Someone like that, one of the greatest Yankees, to be on the field with him for his last game would be pretty cool.
Facing him, “I was hoping he’d get himself out. I remember calling the game the way he stayed inside the ball. Hopefully he was getting himself out, rolling over a pitch or popping something up. He’s always a tough out. You knew he was going to give you a tough at-bat every time up.”
By inserting David Ortiz at first base for Game 3 of the World Series, not only do the Red Sox lose one of their most productive bats in Mike Napoli, but also one of their best fielders throughout the season.
Though Napoli didn’t finish as one of the top three finalists at first base in the American League Gold Glove voting, many of the metrics suggest that he should have.
“He’s done an outstanding job there,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “And you’re always going to feel that way about your own guy because you see the amount of work they put in and all that’s gone into that with the work of [infield instructor Brian Butterfield] and [Napoli]. In our mind, he is [a Gold Glover]. And really, all these other awards are outward acknowledgements of the work that guys do, but he’s no less important than anyone that has received a Gold Glove here.”
If the Red Sox are leading in the late innings of Game 3, it is a certainty that Napoli will sub for Ortiz on defense. Farrell will be cognizant of that when it comes to a proper spot for Napoli to pinch-hit.
“If we do have a lead in the sixth or seventh inning, he’s more than ready to go to pick up for David at first,” said Farrell. “That’s why we’ve got to be a little careful when to use him as a pinch-hitter as well, to preserve that defensive side of it.”
One interesting development during Saturday’s batting practice was Napoli taking grounders at third base. Napoli has never played that position in his Major League career. He played one game there at the Minor League level in 2002.
Though it seems unlikely Napoli would play third beyond an emergency situation in the World Series, Farrell hasn’t ruled it out entirely.
“It’s being thought of,” Farrell told FOX’s Ken Rosenthal.
“Not tonight, but it’s an option,” Farrell told Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.
Without Napoli in the lineup for Game 3, Daniel Nava batted fifth, making his first World Series start in place of Jonny Gomes in left.
It was just a few days ago that Mike Napoli was dropped from fifth to sixth in manager John Farrell’s lineup. With his slump showing no signs of lifting, Napoli moved down again for Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays — this time to the No. 7 hole for the first time this season.
Napoli has just five hits in 37 at-bats in August, with no homers and three RBIs.
For the season, he has 158 strikeouts in 460 plate appearances.
The news of Napoli’s move down in the batting order was announced by Farrell in his weekly radio segment with WEEI on Wednesday.
Mike Napoli is not in Boston’s lineup tonight. Mike Carp is at first. This is becoming a big issue for the Red Sox when you consider how well Carp has been hitting in limited opportunities and the fact that Napoli’s bat has gone ice-cold since his grand slam homer at Yankee Stadium the night of June 1.
In his last 74 at-bats, Napoli is hitting .230 with one double, no homers and 10 RBIs.
In Napoli’s first 212 at-bats of the season, he hit .269 with nine homers, 44 RBIs and an .846 OPS.
The Red Sox need Napoli’s production from the right side, particularly because of the protection he can give David Ortiz in the lineup.
Napoli was out before today’s game taking extra batting practice. This is definitely a story to monitor in the coming weeks.
After leaving camp for a couple of days for a personal reason, slugger David Ortiz was back to work on Saturday. In fact, manager John Farrell said that today is the start of the next level in Ortiz’s rehab program — he will do all baseball activities. Ortiz, who is coming off a of a right Achilles injury, had been spending a lot of his time doing agility work.
Today will mark the second time Ortiz has run the bases. He also ran on Wednesday before his temporary leave from camp. Manager John Farrell estimates that the slugger will play in his first Grapefruit League game “at the end of this upcoming week”.
With Mike Napoli returning last night, that means the Red Sox can finally play with their full lineup, minus Shane Victorino, who will be at the World Baseball Classic.
In other news, Jarrod Saltalamacchia will sit out today with lower back stiffness. He seems to get that a couple of times a year — probably just the nature of being a catcher.
Daniel Bard will have a side day today, and then throw in a game on Monday.
Victorino will lead off today in a 1:05 p.m. road game against the Twins and then fly to Arizona tomorrow to join Team USA.
All eyes were on the new first baseman tonight. After weeks — in fact months — of hearing about Mike Napoli’s hips, he played a game for the Red Sox tonight against the Pirates.
And of course, he got tested on the very first pitch of the game. The Pirates’ Darren Ford dropped a hard bunt to first base. Napoli grabbed it and raced to the bag, where he beat Ford on a bang-bang play.
Then he got to bat in the first inning, and Napoli scalded a single off of the foot of Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke. Stephen Drew ripped a double, and Napoli looked comfortable going first to third. Napoli then scored on a wild pitch.
He was again tested on defense in the second. Pedro Alvarez hit a grounder to Napoli, and he made the flip to Jon Lester for the out. Napoli then made a catch on a foul ball by Brandon Inge just in front of the visitors’ dugout. Napoli made a few more routine plays on defense, and struck out in his second at-bat. When the Red Sox came out for defense to start the fifth inning, Napoli was replaced by Lyle Overbay at first.
It was a solid first impression.
The Red Sox had high hopes for Napoli when they originally agreed to terms on a three-year, $39-million pact back in December. Though the contract is now just for one year, the club remains confident that Napoli can be an impact bat in the middle of the lineup.
“Well he’s passed all the tests that we’ve put him through,” said manager John Farrell. “There’s been no restrictions. Even when he was taking BP in the offseason, it was apparent that his lower half was free and we’re looking forward to getting him into the flow of things starting tonight.”
Napoli maintains that he is symptom free from the hip condition — avascluar neucrosis — he was diagnosed with. And he vowed not to be thinking about it when he is on the field.
“Just play the game,” Napoli said. “That’s the best way to go at it. That’s the way I’ve always done it. I’m just going to play the game and let things happen. When you start worrying about things like, ‘I can’t slide, I shouldn’t slide,’ that’s when you get in between and hurt yourself.”
As for the transition to first base after serving as a primary catcher for all of his career until now?
“I feel a lot more comfortable over there, especially turning the double play, where my feet should be, where I should be taking the ball and receiving the ball,” said Napoli. “It’s been going [well].”
For a pitcher with Koji Uehara’s experience and stats, he probably had quite a few options when he was a free agent this winter? So why did he wind up with the Red Sox?
“I felt like the Red Sox wanted me more than the other teams. I felt wanted the most by this organization,” said Uehara, who arrived at camp on Sunday. “I feel comfortable about my role. I still have to compete for a position. I heard that John Farrell, when he was with Toronto, he liked me as a pitcher.”
Uehara was one of several Red Sox players to arrive on Sunday, including Mike Napoli and David Ross.
The righty came over from Japan in 2009, but he followed closely when Daisuke Matsuzaka arrived in Boston amid much hype in 2007.
“I was envious,” Uehara said. “I wanted to be there. He was a great pitcher and I also wanted to come over here.”
A starter upon his arrival in the Majors, Uehara has settled into a fine reliever the last three seasons. For the Orioles, Uehara proved he can succeed in the American League East. He put up solid numbers with the Rangers last season.
“Of course it helps, my experience in the AL East,” Uehara said. “Texas was also a small park. That challenge helps.”
Uehara and all other Red Sox pitchers and catchers will undergo physicals on Monday. The first pitchers-catchers workout will be Tuesday.
The Red Sox never confirm a signing until a player passes a physical, but Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was at least willing to speak about the pending Mike Napoli signing in general terms in a meeting with beat reporters earlier tonight.
“We’ve made some progress and he’s a guy who gets on base, has power, could be a good fit for our ballpark. We knew when we made the Dodgers trade, and moved Gonzalez, we were going to have to try to find a way to replace that offense and as we got into the offseason, we understood that that was probably going to have to come from a combination of guys and maybe not one guy. So that’s part of what we’ve been trying to do this offseason is add offense at a number of spots on the roster so we’re hopeful we can continue to do that.”
Will Napoli catch, or focus on first base? “He could catch, he can play first. If he’s here, we imagine he’d do some of both but that would be up to our manager to figure out.”
More details, please! “Hard to say. Obviously we’re not ready to announce anything. we can envision …there have been years when he’s caught a number of games, a lot, and there’s been years he’s caught less. We like his offense in Fenway, we like the versatility, so I’m going to say we’re hopeful to make some progress there.”
The Red Sox have a lot of catchers. Will they trade any of them. “We’ll see. I don’t have a good feel for that yet. It could be that that presents opportunities because of a potential surplus in that area, but I don’t know if that will turn into anything yet.”
The Red Sox have coveted Napoli for a long time. In fact, they claimed Napoli on waivers in 2010, but couldn’t work out a deal with the Angels at the time.
“Again we don’t have anything to announce,” Cherington said. “If we were to progress there, we’re looking at on-base, power, positional versatility and to collectively replace some of the offense we lost with Gonzalez and improve on the overall lineup performance. Someone like that can help us in a number of those areas.”
The Red Sox landed one of their top targets of the winter, agreeing to terms on a three-year deal. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the deal is worth $39 million.
Napoli gives the Red Sox the type of power they need, and is a right-handed bat who can complement star lefty slugger David Ortiz.
While Napoli has primarily been a catcher in his career, there’s a strong chance he will get the bulk of his playing time in Boston at first base.
With Napoli on board, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington can now focus on other needs, such as finding an outfielder, a starting pitcher and possibly a shortstop.