Mike Napoli

Does Mike Napoli think he's back after his two hits Tuesday? 'No'

Rob Bradford
June 17, 2015 - 8:28 am

Like the Red Sox, it would seem Mike Napoli took a turn for the better Tuesday. The first baseman came away with a pair of hits after having come into the series finale hitting .156 in his 12 games played this month. It was a stretch that saw Napoli strikeout 17 times in 46 plate appearances, walking just once. So, when he pulled a single into left field on a Julio Teheran slider, that must have made Napoli feel like his swing was getting back to a good place, right? "No," he responded after the Red Sox' 9-4 win over the Braves. Well, certainly the sixth-inning double to left offered the solution he had been searching for. "Nope," Napoli responded once again. He then elaborated. "I'm not the kind of guy who gets a couple of hits and thinks, 'I'm back.' Yeah, I felt better, but I have to go a couple of games of executing what I'm trying to do," Napoli said. "I've still got work to do, but I'm going down the right path." It is pretty clear what pitchers have been doing to Napoli, living on the outside part of the plate. He knows that. "I haven't really shown I can hit the outer corner pitch," the righty hitter said. "I have to make the adjustment to be able to hit that pitch." Then comes a pause. Now Napoli once again identifies what he continues to believe is a big part of the problem: the strike zone. "Some of them are off, and they're being called strikes," he said regarding the dilemma he's facing on the outside part of the plate. "For me, sometimes with two strikes I have to expand and I have to swing at something. I'm not just going to take something and walk back to the dugout. But, whatever. I'm feeling better. I'm going in the right path." It's obviously been an issue on Napoli's mind, along with evidently at least somebody else in the Red Sox clubhouse. According to Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, one of the players asked about the consistency of this season's strike zone during his pregame meeting with the team. That person wasn't Napoli. According to the first baseman, at the time of the get-together he was in the trainer's room getting treatment. "No, it wasn't me," he said. "But I wish I was in here for that."