Red Sox: Napoli a DH candidate? Not so fast

Mike Napoli could wind up being a steal for the Sox ... if the hip holds up, of course.
Mike Napoli could wind up being a steal for the Sox … if the hip holds up, of course.

Heading into spring training, there was some concern regarding newly acquired first baseman Mike Napoli on whether or not his hip would be durable enough to make it through a full season.

The Red Sox originally offered Napoli a three-year, $39 million contract during MLB’s winter meetings, but after reviewing his medicals and two full months later, the team eventually offered him a one-year, $5 million deal with some incentives built-in based on performance and number of games played. In doing so the Red Sox acknowledged there were some concerns with his hip, but so far this spring Napoli has put those concerns to a halt.

The 31-year-old has done everything the team has asked and played very well defensively at first base. He was primarily a catcher until 2010 when he started splitting time between first base and behind the plate. This year he is strictly a first baseman.

“Every day I come to the park and I don’t even think about catching,” Napoli told reporters this week. “I don’t think about it anymore. I’ve let it go. I think I’m comfortable now. Before I was iffy. I wasn’t sure. I didn’t really know what I was doing over there. It’s a lot better.”

Napoli is coming off of a down year in which he hit just .227. The year prior, 2011, he had his best year as a professional hitting .320 with 30 home runs and 75 RBIs. Judging by his performances so far early in the spring, he is on his way to getting back to his 2011 form.

In five games, going into yesterday, he was 4-for-11 with two home runs and five runs batted in. He also has played very well at first. He is itching to get to Boston as his swing is perfect for Fenway Park with the Green Monster in left field.

With the news of designated hitter David Ortiz likely to miss some time to start this season, and with remaining questions about Napoli’s hip, some have suggested Napoli might be a good candidate to DH.

Manager John Farrell doesn’t see things that way, as he sees Napoli as a full-time first baseman.

“I haven’t seen that’s necessary,” said Farrell to reporters. “If there wasn’t as much advancement on the defensive side, then you might say that there’s a different combination of players that would fill out this roster. I’m not excluding anyone that’s in camp here, but he’s made such strides defensively.”

With the way things have played out so far, the one-year, $5 million contract the team gave Napoli might be the steal of the off-season.

Follow Metro Boston Red Sox reporter Ryan Hannable @Hannable84



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

Gossip

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

Music

Incubus singer Brandon Boyd on his newest act,…

The rocker is releasing two new passion projects.

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…