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Red Sox pregame notes: Mike Napoli slated to play in game Friday; John Farrell returns to Dunedin

DUNEDIN, Fla. — While John Farrell [1] weaved his way in and out of questions regarding his departure from the Blue Jays (while also being serenaded with a chorus of boos upon his introduction), there were other items of interest emanating from Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

– Farrell said the plan for Mike Napoli [2] (hips) — who continues to run the bases in preparation of seeing game action — will hit in a simulated game against Clay Buchholz [3] Tuesday before appearing the Red Sox [4]‘ Friday night game against Pittsburgh in Fort Myers.

– The Sox manager talked a bit about the competition for the utility infield role between Pedro Ciriaco (who continued his spring training success with a two-run single Sunday) and Brock Holt. The differences?

“[Holt is] left-handed, for one,” Farrell said. “The other skill-set is pretty similar, pretty comparable. Both can run, both can play middle of the infield. When you have a utility guy that can play shortstop, that’€™s really the key, particularly with our bench and the way it’€™s going to be constructed.”

– As a reminder, Buchholz is scheduled to start Saturday, with Felix Doubront [5] slated for Monday.

– As for the questions of Farrell regarding his exit from Toronto:

Question: If you knew in September the Blue Jays would have had such an active offseason, would that have changed your mind?

Answer: Well, if memory serves me correct, I was traded. These questions were raised during the winter meetings, and I spent quite a bit of time talking about it at that time. To go back, my focus is on what the Red Sox need to do to get ready for this season.

Question: What is anticipation of reception when Red Sox travel to Toronto in April?

Answer: April will get here when it does. We’€™ve got a lot of work to do right now. I’€™m certainly not looking too far ahead. How that unfolds ‘€” we’€™ll see. I fully respect that team. They’€™ve got a darn good team, and I look forward to competing against them.

Question: Personally, are you happy with the move?

Answer: My focus and my attention is clearly here. As I’ve stated many times over, my complete commitment and being engaged in our team goals and with the players of last year, I’ve stated that many times over. That’€™s the same approach I take here now, getting the Red Sox ready to start the season.

Question: What’s it like to be back in Dunedin?

Answer: I thoroughly enjoyed the time there. The two years spent, the time with the players, the fans were great. And certainly there is probably more of a growing anticipation for the team that has been assembled. The working relationship with Alex. I thoroughly enjoyed the time there.

Question: Do you care your aren’t popular among Toronto fans after switching teams?

Answer: I appreciate that people might have differing opinions. All I can do is go about my work day, day in, day out. People are going to form their own impressions, their own perceptions. I certainly can’t control that.