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Napoli likely to make Red Sox debut Friday


DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Red Sox will probably get their first look at new slugger Mike Napoli on Friday night, when he is projected to make his Grapefruit League debut at JetBlue Park in a 7:05 p.m. ET game vs. the Pirates on MLB.TV.

Napoli will get the start at first base. The right-handed hitter started camp on a more conservative program due to a hip condition (avascular neucrosis) that he was diagnosed with over the winter, but he has progressed well with his running program and recent fielding drills.

As a primer for Friday, Napoli will hit against Red Sox righty Clay Buchholz in a simulated game on Tuesday morning.

"Napoli will hit live tomorrow against Buchholz in the [simulated] game, and then we're projecting that he'll be able to get some at-bats on Friday," said manager John Farrell. "So there will be another time. We'll increase the intensity on the basepaths between now and then, but everything looks in order for Friday."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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