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
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…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

National

PHOTO: New Zealand Heral uses wrong image to…

The New Zealand Herald made a terrible mistake of using the wrong image to illustrate the tragic death of Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland – a New Zealand-born Israeli soldier who…

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

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.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.