In his June 7 report, Vannini says that Napoli will bat fifth and play first base as the Red Sox try to end their newest prolonged losing streak at five games.
Napoli went on the disabled list on May 25 with a sprained finger, but he also played through problems with his toes, calf, and hamstring before then. The Red Sox are 7-5 with Napoli out. Vannini quoted manager John Farrell discussing Napoli's importance in the Red Sox' lineup. Said Farrell,
In addition, The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham quoted Red Sox hitting coach Victor Rodriguez saying that Napoli shows signs of having regained full strength as he rested for the past two weeks:"You're talking about a guy that's mid-20s home runs and nearly 100 RBIs a year ago. That type of production has been missed. … I think any time you can lengthen the lineup with another quality hitter, it's going to be advantageous for us. We're certainly looking forward to Mike being in that spot."
“The strength is back in his hands, you can see that. He’s able to control the bat and follow through. There’s a big difference.”Abraham also reported that Napoli was hitting soft-toss pitches over 350 feet.
Napoli is hitting .260 with 5 HR and 22 RBI in 43 games this season. To make room on the roster, the Red Sox optioned outfielder Alex Hassan to Triple-A Pawtucket. The Red Sox enter Sunday night's game in fourth place in the A.L. East at 27-34, 10 games behind the front-running Toronto Blue Jays.
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