Red Sox Thursday morning notes: Mike Napoli 'a little bit ahead' of David Ortiz

Mike Petraglia
February 21, 2013 - 5:46 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While still not outlining specific timelines, Red Sox manager John Farrell said Thursday morning that Mike Napoli is further along in his return to game progression than David Ortiz. Farrell indicated that if everything goes well, Napoli will run the bases next week and begin playing in games later in the week. "Not specific dates. Ranges, we're hopeful that Mike would be taking at-bats later next week," Farrell said of his new first baseman who is still working through agility drills to test his hips. Napoli has looked smooth handling defensive work at first base. "To maintain with their protocol right now. We just want to be sure, in Mike's case, that the impact of the addition to all the defensive work, we have to run him through the bases, we have some running yet to do with him but there's no reason to think he's going to ramp up without any setback." Ortiz has also been taking part in first base defensive drills but the team is taking a more cautious approach with his Achilles. "David will maintain the agility program that he's on, and that continues to increase in intensity, much like with Mike," Farrell said. "They'll go through a base-running progression to be fully cleared. Right now, there's been no reason to think that's not going to continue on its path." Farrell said he has no timetable on a return to game action for Ortiz. "Don't have a timeframe on that yet," Farrell said. "I would hope it would not be too far behind but the one thing we don't want to do is just earmark a date and then all of sudden feel there's a letdown. We're not at that point yet. "Napoli is a little bit ahead of David. My sense is, based on our medical staff, [Napoli will] run the bases sometime next week and provided everything comes out of that fine, which we expect, I think later next week you'll see him in the lineup." Farrell said he's not overly concerned about Ortiz playing in games yet, indicating that if the slugger starts playing by mid-March, that should be plenty of time to get ready for the start of the season. "Probably two weeks," Farrell said of the amount of time Ortiz needs to get ready. "I think if you ask any hitter, they get their timing pretty good in a two weeks period. That's going to give them probably 35, 40 at-bats so time is on our side as far as a position player. Mike Carp had some weather-related travel adjustments to make in getting from the West Coast to the Gulf Coast of Florida. The newly-acquired outfielder/first baseman was initially going to travel through Chicago. Instead, he is going through Dallas on Thursday and is scheduled to arrive in Fort Myers Thursday night. He will have to go through a full medical since he did not officially report to Mariners camp after being designated for assignment before Thursday's trade. On former BC pitcher Terry Doyle starting against his former school: "Little sidebar, something for you to write about," Farrell joked. "We felt we needed to go out and find a strike-thrower, someone who was a dependable strike-thrower. He's got a proven track record of that. He's not going to overpower you with stuff but he has the ability to throw multiple pitches in fastball counts, and more importantly, he consistently throws the ball over the plate and he fit the bill. "He can do different things [starting or relieving]. One role [at Triple-A Pawtucket] has not been guaranteed to him so we know he has the capability of doing both." Farrell confirmed Mitch Maier will be used exclusively in the outfield while Daniel Nava will get a close look at first base: "The early look on Daniel at first has been very encouraging. The thing we'll get a better read on obviously, is game speed. But to date, the way his hands and feet work, the lead into the double play, all of those have been very good." Clay Buchholz (hamstring) and Felix Doubront (shoulder) came through side sessions with no issues while Craig Breslow (shoulder) continues to make progress: "Fine, no physical issues. Buck was fine. Breslow is feeling a little bit better today and we're hopeful that he'll start re-initiating a throwing program so physically, we're making some progress." Farrell indicated that each starter in the Northeastern and Boston College games will get two at-bats before being lifted. Against Northeastern, the Red Sox are going with a lineup of Jacoby Ellsbury CF, Dustin Pedroia 2B, Shane Victorino RF, Jonny Gomes LF, Jarrod Saltalamacchia DH, Will Middlebrooks 3B, Stephen Drew SS, Lyle Overbay 1B, David Ross C and Joel Hanrahan P. Against Boston College, Justin Henry RF, Brock Holt SS, Jackie Bradley CF, Mauro Gomez 1B, Jeremy Hazelbaker LF, Xander Bogaerts 3B, Jonathan Diaz 2B, Dan Butler C, David Renfroe DH, Koji Uehara P. For more, visit the Red Sox team page at