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Mike Napoli makes his Red Sox debut; Middlebrooks not in lineup

03.01.13 at 2:48 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox will play the Pirates at JetBlue Park on Friday night, a game that will mark the Sox debut of new first baseman Mike Napoli. However, while Napoli — whose start to the spring was slowed slightly while he and the Sox followed a program meant to ensure the well-being on his hips, following his offseason diagnosis with avascular necrosis — is in the lineup (batting cleanup and playing first base), third baseman Will Middlebrooks is not playing, two days removed from his awkward check-swing against the Orioles.

Still, Middlebrooks says he remains fine, and he was actually surprised that he wasn’t in the lineup, suggesting that he has no residue of pain in his right wrist.

“I hadn’t even seen the lineup. I was expecting to be in there,” said Middlebrooks, who added that he planned to take batting practice and take part in all normal pre-game baseball activities. “I haven’t even been in the training room. … I’m fine. No worries.”

The Red Sox lineup against the Pirates:

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Shane Victorino, RF
Mike Napoli, 1B
Stephen Drew, SS
Daniel Nava, LF
Ryan Lavarnway, C
Mark Hamilton, DH
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B

Jon Lester, LHP

Other pitchers slated to work on Friday include knuckleballer Stephen Wright and flamethrower Rubby De La Rosa, along with relief prospect Alex Wilson.

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