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Mike Napoli pulling for ex-teammate Josh Hamilton 02.28.15 at 10:15 am ET
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Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli spent two years in Texas with Josh Hamilton when the outfielder was at the height of his powers. He knows what a tremendous talent Hamilton is on the field, which made the news about Hamilton’s looming suspension ‘€“ reportedly for a drug relapse involving cocaine and alcohol ‘€“ all the more sad.

“It’s unfortunate, man. It’s just tough,” Napoli said. “A lot of people deal with things in different ways. Obviously there’s something wrong where he keeps relapsing, but it’s sad. I feel for him and his family. I just wish him the best and hope that he gets better.”

Hamilton had been one of the feel-good stories of baseball, a former No. 1 overall pick who drank and drugged his way of the game before a renaissance in Texas from 2008-12. Since signing with the Angels before the 2013 season, however, Hamilton’s star has burned less bright, and his latest transgression is sure to earn him a lengthy suspension.

Napoli doesn’t remember Hamilton struggling to stay on the straight and narrow in Texas.

“It just seemed like he was living his normal life,” he said. “It was never talked about. We were just regular people. We weren’t talking about what he used to do or whatever. When I was there, he had (accountability partner) Johnny Narron, who took care of him and stuff on the road. There was never any sense that he was going to relapse and go down that path.”

Napoli recalls the Rangers altering their celebrations en route to the World Series in 2011 to accommodate Hamilton’s lifestyle.

“We celebrated with ginger ale, and then he’d leave and we’d all celebrate (with champagne),” Napoli said.

In the end, Napoli hopes his former teammate can find himself again and overcome his addictions.

“Some people just have that personality, where they just feel like they need it,” he said. “It’s hard. I feel for him. I hope he gets on the right path to get back to being a star baseball player, because when he’s right and healthy and on the right path, he’s another league above this as a talent. It’s sad.”

Read More: 2015 spring training, Josh Hamilton, mike napoli,
Morning Fort: Mike Napoli feels like a new man, Daniel Nava promises not to press as much and Christian Vazquez takes over 02.23.15 at 10:38 am ET
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Mike Napoli is looking to return to form in 2015. (Getty Images)

Mike Napoli is looking to return to form in 2015. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox haven’t even had their first full squad workout but already Mike Napoli feels like a new man.

The slugger who had offseason surgery to address severe sleep apnea can feel an increase in energy and motivation when he heads to the ballpark.

“It’s been night and day,” Napoli said Monday morning. “Just my energy level when I wake up, I get out of bed and get my day started. Before I’d lay in bed until one o’clock. It’s totally different.”

Napoli looks trimmer than the beginning of last season, when he was still dealing with severe sleep deprivation that was sapping him of energy, making it difficult to deal with and overcome the nagging injuries of the last three seasons.

“You just have to be able to stay in the gym and get your workouts in and take care of your body,” he said. “It’s nutrition, working out and getting sleep. Now I can get sleep, which is probably going to help me out a lot. Just recovery, you get nicked up during a long season, you have to be able to recover and hopefully, I’ll be able to do that now.”

On Dec. 3, 2012, Napoli agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal with the Red Sox, pending a physical. Following a six-week period, the status of the deal was in question after his physical showed signs of a hip issue. He eventually agreed to play 2013 for $13 million.

He re-signed for two years and $32 million after helping the Red Sox to the World Series title. Last year, his numbers dipped. He batted just .248 with 17 homers and 55 RBIs in 119 games. But with his finger, knee, toe and back injuries resolved and his sleep apnea hopefully in the past, Napoli has a lot to look forward to with a rebuilt Red Sox order. He’ll have Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval and David Ortiz ahead of him in the lineup.

“It’s been great. We’re going to have a deep lineup,” Napoli said. “It’s going to be fun. Those guys have been around here for a couple of weeks now. We’ve all been getting along and having a good time. Just getting out there and working on our game.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, christian vazquez, daniel nava
Mike Napoli on Hot Stove show: I considered retirement after last season 02.20.15 at 1:14 pm ET
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Mike Napoli joined Rob Bradford and Mike Mutnansky on the Hot Stove show on Thursday to talk about his thoughts on the Red Sox entering spring training, as well as his career and the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory. To hear the interview, go to the WEEI audio on demand page.

Napoli has suffered from sleep apnea, and had surgery to correct it in the offseason.

“It’s all worked out,” Napoli said. “I’m really excited, working out hard, and I think it could be a really good year.”

The Red Sox first baseman admitted that his condition caused him to consider retirement after last season.

“At the end of the year, I wasn’t playing at all,” Napoli said. “I was banged up, but it was so frustrating that, in my mind, I was like, I don’t know if I can go through another year of just feeling like this.”

Last year wasn’t just a tough one for Napoli. After winning the World Series in 2013, the Red Sox finished last in the AL East.

“[Last year] we had a lot of different guys and a lot of younger guys and there were a lot of challenges for us last year, and it just didn’t work out,” Napoli said. “But we brought in a lot of veteran good hitters and some veteran pitchers that, you know, as I’ve been here early, and a lot of guys are showing up early, it’s been a great vibe.”

Many players and fans attribute the team’s 2013 success to the camaraderie in the clubhouse. Napoli said that he has already noticed a better atmosphere than last season.

“It’s been great,” Napoli said, adding: “We had a lot of young guys, and I feel like they learned and saw some things and they’re a little more comfortable around in the clubhouse just being able to talk to with some of the veterans and stuff. It’s just been different.”

Added Napoli: “We don’t even have [Dustin] Pedroia here yet, and it’s been great. Once he gets here and he’s all over everybody, it’s going to be fun.”

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Red Sox health updates: Clay Buchholz to undergo right knee procedure; Allen Craig’s foot considered a non-issue 09.29.14 at 2:03 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz will have what GM Ben Cherington described as a minor right knee procedure. (Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz will have what GM Ben Cherington described as a minor right knee procedure. (Getty Images)

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington announced that right-hander Clay Buchholz was expected to undergo a minor right knee procedure to repair his meniscus by head team orthopedist Dr. Peter Asnis. Cherington said that Buchholz had been dealing with the issue on and off for some time, though the discomfort hadn’t always been present and it was not significant enough to prevent him from pitching. Cherington described the meniscus injury as “not a debilitating issue,” and was not at the root of the player’s struggles (8-11, 5.34 ER) in 2014.

“Given where we are in the calendar, it’s a fairly quick recovery. Let’s just knock it out and he should have a normal offseason,” said Cherington. “It’s something that we managed. I think he would tell you it did not affect him. We’re just trying to be proactive so it doesn’t turn into something bigger.”

— Brock Holt will see Dr. Michael Collins in Pittsburgh on Oct. 9 to get clearance that he’s recovered fully from his concussion. He won’t play in games (that visit will come too late to clear him for fall instructional league), but given that Holt took batting practice and grounders in the final homestand of the season, all parties appear comfortable that he will enter the offseason healthy. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Allen Craig, Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, mike napoli
Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts, Mike Napoli get day off in series finale 07.20.14 at 11:43 am ET
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Xander Bogaerts and Mike Napoli will get the day off from the starting lineup as the Red Sox look for the three-game sweep of the Royals against hard-throwing righthander Yordano Ventura. Shane VIctorino is playing in his second straight game with Boston, and fourth consecutive overall, dating back to the start of his brief rehab stint with Pawtucket on Thursday. He is scheduled to have the day off Monday when the Red Sox open a series in Toronto.

For a complete batter vs. pitcher breakdown, click here.

RED SOX LINEUP

Brock Holt 3B

Daniel Nava LF

Dustin Pedroia 2B

David Ortiz DH

Mike Carp 1B

Shane Victorino RF

Stephen Drew SS

David Ross C

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Jon Lester SP

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Jon Lester, mike napoli, MLB
Mike Napoli preserves Red Sox’ hot stretch with clutch round-tripper 07.19.14 at 11:47 pm ET
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One of the staples of last year’€™s championship season for the Red Sox has once again become a recurring theme over the first two contests of this brief three-game homestand against the Royals: Contributions from up and down the Boston roster.

Whether it be Xander Bogaerts’ and Jonny Gomes’€™ clutch home runs Friday night or Mike Napoli‘€™s sixth-inning go-ahead solo shot Saturday, the Sox are suddenly benefiting from different players stepping to the forefront of individual games en route to wins.

“€œThat’€™s what we did last year,”€ Napoli said after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Kansas City. “That’€™s how you win ballgames. It can’€™t just be one guy doing it, so everyone is going to have to contribute and we all know that and we’€™re going to take it one day at a time.”

Comparisons aside, the Red Sox‘€™ recent stretch of clutch hitting has been a key factor in sustaining a run that has seen Boston win three in a row and six out of its last seven games.

With the game deadlocked in a 1-1 score Saturday, Napoli strode to the plate to face off against Royals southpaw starter Danny Duffy, who had only surrendered three hits over his first 5 1/3 innings of work.

After forcing the count to 3-1, Napoli turned on a high fastball from Duffy and clobbered it over the Monster and into Lansdowne Street for his 11th home run of the season, giving Boston a 2-1 lead that it would not yield in the following innings.

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Read More: Danny Duffy, mike napoli, Red Sox, royals
Closing Time: Rubby De La Rosa, Red Sox keep rolling, rally past Royals at 9:50 pm ET
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Entering Saturday’€™s game against the Royals, the Red Sox had only scored two runs over starter Rubby De La Rosa‘€™s last four starts, equaling out to an unsightly 0.73 run support average.

Boston was able to double that run total on Saturday night, and while two runs isn’€™t much, it was enough for De La Rosa, who spun seven brilliant innings of one-run, five-hit dominance en route to a 2-1 Red Sox victory.

Boston has now won two-straight series while also earning their first series victory against a team over .500 since the team took two out of three games from the Yankees on June 27-29. Boston’€™s last eight wins at home have all been decided by one run.

De La Rosa has now allowed three runs or less in five of his seven starts on the year while improving his ERA at home to 1.53 in four starts (4 earned runs/26 innings).

The game remained knotted at 1-1 until the sixth inning, when Mike Napoli took a 92 mph fastball from Royals starter Danny Duffy and deposited it over the Green Monster to give the Sox a one-run lead.

Shane Victorino, playing in his first game with Boston since May 23 after battling hamstring and back injuries for almost two months, was solid at the plate, going 1-for-3 while showing no limitations both in the field and on the basepaths.

With the win the Red Sox move to 45-52 on the year and have now won six of their last seven games.

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Read More: mike napoli, Red Sox, royals, rubby de la rosa
What did Red Sox do during All-Star break? 07.17.14 at 12:40 am ET
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With Jon Lester and Koji Uehara the lone All-Star representatives in Minnesota for the Red Sox (besides the coaching staff), many members of the team had a chance to relax before the grind of the second half of the season gets underway. Some decided to share their activities on social media.

First baseman Mike Napoli had dinner with some long-time friends in the North End.

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, jackie bradley jr., john lackey, mike napoli
John Farrell on ‘idiot’ comment: Mike Napoli, Red Sox have ‘utmost respect’ for Masahiro Tanaka 06.29.14 at 6:51 pm ET
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NEW YORK — It was a spontaneous moment in response to a pivotal moment in a game. Mike Napoli, who had swung and missed at what seemed like 87 splitters from Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, jumped on an elevated 96 mph fastball on the outer part of the plate from the New York ace and lined it just over the fence in right for a ninth-inning solo homer that proved decisive in the Red Sox‘ 2-1 lead. And then…the controversy.

Napoli approached the dugout beaming in celebration and shouted boisterously, “What an idiot! What an idiot!” (In the clubhouse postgame, Napoli acknowledged his surprise that Tanaka threw him a fastball in that situation.) Yet instead of remaining incomprehensible to all but lip readers, the exclamation to teammates was caught by the microphones of the FOX broadcast of the game.

Red Sox manager John Farrell attempted to offer some context for the remark. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: John Farrell, Masahiro Tanaka, mike napoli,
Mike Napoli, Yankee punisher, makes Masahiro Tanaka pay for mistake 06.28.14 at 11:55 pm ET
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NEW YORK — Through eight innings of a 1-1 tie, it had been a difficult night for Mike Napoli at the plate. The first baseman had stepped to the plate three times against Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka without putting a ball in play. He walked once and struck out twice, both times on splitters.

That preface suggested that Napoli was in trouble when he fell behind Tanaka, 1-2, with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. But after Tanaka got back-to-back swings and misses from Napoli — one on a slider, one on a splitter — to put him on the defensive, the dazzling rookie opted for an ill-fated change of course. Instead of attacking with one of his secondary offerings, Tanaka let loose a 96 mph fastball that sailed up and to the outer part of the plate in the strike zone.

“He had me where he wanted me. I don’€™t know, I was just looking, I was just hoping he would hang the split. Usually he doesn’€™t,” said Napoli. “I was pretty surprised, but I was down to two strikes. I was just trying to see something up. My mind was saying, ‘Hang a splitter,’ but I just got something up in the zone that I could handle.”

Handle it he did. Napoli pulled the trigger, whipping his barrel through the zone and managing to send a dart whistling through the air, just over the right field fence and into the first row of seats for an opposite-field homer, his 10th of the year, that offered the decisive margin in the Sox’ 2-1 victory. It was Napoli‘s third homer of the year in a two-strike count, a situation in which he’s hitting .225 with a .355 OBP and .319 slugging mark — all well above the American League averages of .180/.251/.269 with two strikes.

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Read More: Masahiro Tanaka, mike napoli,
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