Brian Butterfield

Brian Butterfield not questioning sending Mike Napoli: 'Sometimes you have to push the envelope and it didn't work today'

Ryan Hannable
June 04, 2015 - 4:40 pm

Anytime a third base coach talks to the media following a game, something likely went wrong. In the case of Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield Thursday, in a 4-4 game in the seventh inning he tried to score Mike Napoli from first base with two outs on a bloop hit, but the first baseman was thrown out with plenty of room to spare, one of the frustrating things to occur in the Red Sox' 8-4 loss to the Twins Thursday at Fenway Park. Napoli was on first base with two outs and Xander Bogaerts at the plate. The two executed a hit-and-run perfectly with Bogaerts singling to shallow right field, but instead of holding Napoli at third, he waved him around and after hesitating, Napoli was out at home after a perfect relay by second baseman Brian Dozier and the inning ended. Butterfield explained his thought process afterwards. "There's two outs, again, not ideal hitting conditions for either team because of the shadows," he said. "The shadows weren't as bad during that time, but early on we're usually taking batting practice during that time and it's difficult to see the ball. So, I've got an outstanding base runner coming at me, even though he's not real fast, he's a guy I have trust in. Minnesota, to their credit, [Aaron] Hicks did a good job getting the ball in and [Brian] Dozier is a heads up player. "I thought we might be able to steal one there -- didn't work. At third and as a base runner sometimes you try and anticipate anything that may occur, you don't have an eraser, you don't have a DVR where you can redo it. I made my decision and I stuck with it and Minnesota as they do, because they are such a good franchise they executed and they got us." Does Butterfield have any second thoughts about the play? "There's not any second thoughts about it," he said. "If you ask me through 19 years if I haven't had any second thoughts, I'd be lying if I said that I haven't. Sometimes you have to push the envelope and it didn't work today." Standing on deck on the play was Pablo Sandoval, who is in the midst of an 0-for-12 slump and hitting just .117 since May 12 with one extra-base hit. Butterfield was asked if that factored in the decision to send Napoli, and while he said initially it didn't, he added everything gets factored into making a decision such as that. "No, not at all," he said of if Sandoval being on deck had anything to do with sending Napoli. "I have great trust in the hitters that are coming. Sometimes you make decisions and you know exactly who is coming up. I've had runners thrown out with David Ortiz coming up and there have been times where I've gone to David after a game is over and apologized to David because there's been less than two outs. I try and factor that in at all times. When there is a runner on first base I am always cognizant of who the next hitter is. Again, you see the play unfold and you try and make your decision and let your eyes tell you what's going on." Even with the out occurring, don't expect Butterfield to change his aggressive style, particularly with a team struggling to score like the Red Sox are now. "I don't think it will," Butterfield said. "I've had discussions with John Farrell where I think it's in my DNA where I push the envelope too much, so it's been a long time. I've done this for along time. I hope that I don't ever lose my aggression and do everything that I can to try and help us win games."