FORT MYERS, Fla. — Mike Napoli played his first spring training game for the Red Sox on Friday night and didn’t get much time to catch his breath.
The new first baseman played four innings and was involved in eight plays. He also was 1 for 2 with an RBI single and scored a run against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Sox won, 5-2.
“I felt good. I felt comfortable over there,” Napoli said. “I should after all the work we put in on the back fields. Everything felt good; my legs felt good. I was happy to be in there.”
Napoli was diagnosed in December with a condition that restricts the flow of blood to his hip bones and the Sox have been cautious with him since. He was restricted to batting practice and fielding drills for the first two weeks of spring training and only recently started running the bases.
Napoli was tested in the field right away Friday when Darren Ford pushed a bunt to the right side. Napoli grabbed the ball and beat the speedy Ford to the bag by a step.
“I got it out of the way quick,” Napoli said. “I guess the ball finds you. … [Dustin Pedroia] was looking at me and I was like, ‘Right out of the chute.’ It was funny but I’m glad I was able to make the play.”
Said manager John Farrell: “We couldn’t draw it up any better in the four innings of work that he had there. A number of 3-to-1 feeds to the pitcher, a number of picks in the dirt. He did a very good job.”
Napoli came to the plate in the bottom of the first with runners on first and second. He lined a ball off the foot of pitcher Jeff Locke. The ball rolled into left field and Napoli had his first RBI of the spring.
Napoli went first to third on a double by Stephen Drew then scored on a wild pitch.
“I felt I got everything out of the way in those first two innings,” he said. “It was fun. I had a good time out there.”