FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For all the talk about Mike Napoli's defensive adjustment this spring from catcher to first base, the reason the Red Sox got him was for his bat. And Napoli served a long reminder of that on Sunday afternoon, hitting a mammoth home run over the 420-foot sign in right-center.
"I thought it was awesome. Maybe like eight pitches later, when the section of fans started clapping, we figured that's when it landed," quipped Red Sox right-hander Ryan Dempster. "Wow. That ball was hit a long, long way. If you're going to give it up, at least it's not a wallscraper."
Napoli is just happy to be playing again after being on a more conservative schedule this spring because of his hip condition that was found in a physical over the winter.
"I'm just trying to drive the ball. I got a pitch I could drive," Napoli said. "I tried to put a good swing on it and hit it pretty well. That was a nice one. It feels good. I mean, my timing feels good. You work, hit your BPs, and when it carries over to the games, it's a good feeling."
This was Napoli's second game of Spring Training. He made his debut on Friday night, belting a single and making a plethora of plays at first base.
"On pitches he gets extended out over the plate, he's done it many times, and we hope he'll do it many times this year," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Just tremendous power, and to all fields. More than anything, he's gaining comfort at first base.
"I think the fact that he had a number of plays the other night has allowed him to settle in a little quicker than maybe otherwise would have been the case if he doesn't make any plays. For two games, four at-bats, we probably couldn't ask for a whole lot more right now."