Napoli on track for Friday's Grapefruit debut
SARASOTA, Fla. -- First baseman Mike Napoli ran the bases on Wednesday in Fort Myers, Fla., and is set to make his Grapefruit League debut on Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET, against the Pirates.
Manager John Farrell said that Napoli, who eased into Spring Training due to a hip condition, will get "a couple of" at-bats and start at first base. Napoli is under no restrictions, but Farrell expects him to "play under control, particularly if he gets on base.
"The one thing that we're still being a little cautious with is just the sliding," Farrell added. "We're not in a position to say, 'Don't slide,' but if he does, [he needs to] just give himself ample time to stop before jarring himself on the bag."
Farrell said that Napoli is still working to get more comfortable at first base, more so with handling cutoffs and relays than with simply fielding ground balls, but feels that his experience at catcher will help him in some regards.
"Already you can see his hands work very cleanly with balls in the dirt. He plays low to the ground, I think, by virtue of having spent so many years behind the plate," Farrell said. "You see his footwork. For a guy his size, he's still got quick feet. He's agile. In time I think he'll become a very good first baseman."
Also working out at the Spring Training complex on Wednesday morning was Felix Doubront. The left-hander threw two simulated innings and "looked very good," according to Farrell. Doubront is still scheduled to start on Monday against the Rays at JetBlue Park.