Mike Napoli

Slumping Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli: 'I wake up every day thinking today is the day'

John Tomase
July 07, 2015 - 3:37 pm

Mike Napoli isn't giving up, but the clock is ticking on his Red Sox career. The slumping first baseman was once again benched on Tuesday night, this time in favor of Triple A call-up Travis Shaw. Napoli is hitting just .192 and hasn't started since Saturday (he finished Sunday's win over the Astros as a defensive replacement). He spent time before Tuesday's game in the cage with hitting coaches Chili Davis and Victor Rodriguez. He's confident he'll find a way to regain his form. "I wake up every day thinking, 'Today is the day,'" Napoli said. "I'm a confident person. I've been doing this for a long time. I know I'm one swing away from feeling what I need to feel. I'm confident." Slumps are nothing new to Napoli, a notoriously streaky hitter who was hitting just .221 at the start of July in 2011 before finishing the season at .320, thanks to a .378 second half. "I've been here before," Napoli said. "It's been a tough first half, but I still have confidence that I'm a good baseball player and I'll come out of it. I'm going to put in the work to get out of this thing." Napoli can't figure out where things have gone wrong. He underwent offseason surgery to cure him of his sleep apnea, and able to sleep for the first time in his career, he put together a monster spring training. But it hasn't carried over into the season. "I think that'€™s the frustrating part, where I feel so good," Napoli said. "I'm healthy, I'm sleeping well. That'€™s the frustrating part. I'm putting in work. I've probably put in more work this year than I ever have in my career because I'm not tired. I don't know. I'm going to just keep grinding. When I get my opportunity, I'll try to make the best out of it." Napoli is focusing on getting on top of the ball and staying in the middle of the field. He'll bide his time and do his early work until he gets a chance to reclaim his job. Asked if he feels like time is running out, he shook his head. "I don't know. No," he said. "I come here every day, put in the work. You never know in this business. I'm going to make the best of my opportunity when I get my chance and try to help us win."