Napoli got a lot of rest during the final week of the regular season, as the Red Sox tried to get him ready for October. Then, there were four days off between the end of the season and the American League Division Series. Manager John Farrell wonders if that had some impact on Napoli against the Rays, when he went 2-for-13.
When he [stays down] for a week, he's got maintenance in that swing, so then he gets a couple of games back, and then we shut [him] down for another four days, [and that's tough]," Farrell said. "He's a guy that needs regular at-bats to find that timing, to hone it, and to capitalize on the power that he has."
Given the fact that Max Scherzer is notoriously tough on right-handers, it's expected that Mike Carp will start at first in place of Napoli for Game 2 of the AL Championship Series against the Tigers (Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX).
Napoli continues to impress the Red Sox with the way he has handled his injury.
"I wouldn't say it's getting worse," Farrell said. "He's shown that there's a pretty substantial pain threshold that he's able to deal with. Even when he had that rest through the end of the season, that last week of the season, I thought he ran the bases pretty aggressively in the final series against Baltimore and then against Tampa Bay. If there's something being felt, he's not letting on with the way he's running the bases."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Jason Mastrodonato is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.