Regulars get payoff for taking impromptu road trip

Regulars get payoff for taking impromptu road trip

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks were not on the original travel list for Monday's game against the Orioles. They were supposed to get their at-bats in a Minor League game back in Fort Myers.

But with Opening Day a week away, they told manager John Farrell they'd rather face Major League competition.

It turned out to be a good decision. Middlebrooks went 3-for-4. Gomes was 2-for-3 with a home run. And Napoli served as the DH, going 2-for-3 with a double. Victorino went 0-for-4 in a 12-9 loss to Baltimore.

"Yeah, I just wanted to go three days in a row, get 10-12 at-bats in three straight days and get a rhythm, especially going into the beginning of the season, going into an off-day tomorrow," said Middlebrooks. "I didn't want to have two days off. It felt good. I feel really comfortable."

"We're kind of in a spot where I've done my work in the cage; I've done my work in the weight room. I've done all the drills," said Gomes. "It's time to get game adjustments. Some people can find it in the cage, some people can find it on video. I'm more of a game type. If I had the opportunity to play in a Minor League game or a big league game, and these guys being in the AL East, I'd rather come up here and play."

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.