Napoli ejected after arguing strike three
Red Sox slugger drops bat, leading to home-plate umpire giving him the hook
ST. PETERSBURG -- Mike Napoli had made his disapproval known on a called third strike in the second inning of the Red Sox's 5-3 victory over the Rays on Sunday, but he had no plans of escalating it any further.
With a full count, the Red Sox first baseman watched what he thought was a slider break off the plate and dropped his bat so he could begin trotting to first. Instead, home-plate umpire Tripp Gibson rung him up and Napoli said a few words before making his way back to the dugout.
On his way, Gibson told Napoli to come pick up his bat, but the Boston slugger pointed to the bat boy and continued to walk away. As he did, Gibson ejected Napoli from the contest.
"I was walking away and I was going back to the dugout and he was telling me to come back and pick up my bat when it was over," Napoli said. "It's kind of embarrassing. I don't know how you can throw someone out for that. I'm not trying to get thrown out in the second inning because we have a short bench."
Upon being tossed, an irate Napoli stormed back to home plate and jawed at Gibson. Red Sox manager John Farrell quickly came out to separate his first baseman and the umpire, as well as a have a few words with Gibson himself, but he was not ejected.
Napoli said the frustration has been mounting, due in large part to the 10-year veteran having an increase of pitches that he believes are balls being called strikes.
"Enough is enough," Napoli said. "I've been getting pitches that have been called off the plate and it's frustrating. I'm the type of hitter that sees a lot of pitches and it's the way I hit. I'm not going to change the style of how I came up and the player I've become because they keep calling pitches off the plate.
"I'm going to keep battling, but something has to give."
The ejection was the fourth of Napoli's career, the previous coming against Texas on May 29.
Brock Holt slid over from second base to occupy first base in Napoli's absence and Deven Marrero came in to play second in his Major League debut.