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Mike Napoli on M&M: Barack Obama ‘has a lot more things to worry about than my last name’

04.08.14 at 1:46 pm ET
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Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli checked in with Mut & Merloni on Tuesday as the Red Sox prepare to play the Rangers in the second game of a three-game series at Fenway Park. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

The Red Sox had a rough weekend series against the Brewers, dropping three straight to match their longest losing streak of 2013. There has been some talk that Friday’s lengthy ring ceremony — coming three days after a visit to the White House to celebrate the 2013 World Series championship — might have taken some of the team’s focus and energy away from the games.

“Me personally, I wasn’t tired or anything. I don’t think we played really good baseball,” Napoli said. “It’s been a long week, but hopefully we get our feet under us and start playing some good baseball.”

With the ceremonies done, the Sox are ready to have their attention solely on the 2014 campaign.

“We talked about it once, we talked about, ‘Let last year be last year,’ and focused on this year. I think we’ve done a good job with it,” he said. “We had Opening Day here, we got our rings, and that was kind of the final straw of it. We’re focused on this year and we’re ready to go.”

Napoli has had some early success at the plate (.321/.406/.571), including a couple of opposite-field hits with two strikes.

“I’m just trying to put the ball in play, especially with two strikes,” he said. “Trying to shorten up, shorten up my leg kick a little bit and just really see the ball to contact. I’m going to strike out, I’ve done it my whole career. I’m trying to minimize it a little bit but also have an aggressive swing to try to put the ball in play somewhere.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

On President Barack Obama mispronouncing his last name at last week’s White House ceremony: “It was weird. I was a little embarrassed, actually. I don’t know. It was funny. A bunch of the guys started laughing. Yeah, whatever — the guy has a lot more things to worry about than my last name.”

On his hard-partying ways after last season’s World Series title: “I had a good time, I’ll tell you that. Like I said, I love the city. I had a great time, went out and partied with the people a little bit. My family was here, my friends here here. It was a great time. I’d like to do it all over again. ‘€¦ I don’t regret anything I did. I had a good time doing it. We just won the World Series. A lot of people don’t understand that I was one strike away, the offseason I had, I guess I kind of blew a lot of steam off and had a good time doing it.”

On reports that he told his agent to get a deal done with the Red Sox this past offseason after his one-year contract expired: “First of all, I love this city. This team is amazing. When you get something special in this game you try to ride it out as long as possible. The core group of guys here and people coming back, I wanted to be a part of this thing here. That’s basically how it happened. I told my agent, ‘Get something done with them, and I want to sign early and get it over with so I can just work out and worry about my offseason.’ ”

On if he misses playing catcher: “I don’t miss it one bit. I think the game-calling, yeah, working with pitchers and different personalities, getting people through innings. But just the physical part of catching, it stinks. It sucks going up for your fourth at-bat, you’re all nicked up and trying to get a hit, a big hit late in the game and you’re just tired. I love first base. I don’t miss catching at all.”

On his beard: “I’m keeping it. There’s no way I’m cutting this thing off. I love this thing. I don’t know, I guess the beard thing is in right now. We’ll see. But I don’t plan on cutting it anytime soon.”

On Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus‘ beard: “That might be the worst beard I’ve ever seen. ‘€¦ He doesn’t have a mustache, and he shaves half of his chin. It’s terrible. And I told him that. Who knows what he’s going to do with that thing.”

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