Now Commenting On:

{"event":["spring_training" ] }

Napoli goes deep, off to healthy start at camp

Napoli goes deep, off to healthy start at camp play video for Napoli goes deep, off to healthy start at camp

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Unlike a year ago, when Mike Napoli almost felt like he was wearing training wheels, he is off to a strong and productive start this Spring Training.

The right-handed slugger mashed a two-run homer in Sunday's 8-6 win over the Orioles and also made a strong leaping stab of a line drive.

After being diagnosed with a hip condition entering the 2013 season, the Red Sox put him on a conservative program at the start of camp. But Napoli proved that his hip wasn't an issue, and he is thrilled to be on a normal schedule this year.

"It's way different than last year, to not have restrictions on me," Napoli said. "I think I started running when we started playing games last year. This year I ran the whole offseason to get my lower body in shape. It's a lot different. Not that I really worried about my hips or anything last year, but … I'm free to do what I've been doing earlier in my career. My lower half feels better coming into this spring."

Napoli also has a full season under his belt as a full-time first baseman and has proven to be quite adept at that position.

It showed in the fourth inning when he snared that liner off the bat of Francisco Peguero.

"I thought I mistimed it at first," Napoli said. "From a right-hander coming that way, I thought it was harder than it was. I'm just trying to compete, play the game and get my body in shape."

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.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español