FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A day after being cleared to begin all baseball activity, Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli (hip) participated in early fielding drills and later finished his day taking 50 ground balls at first base.
Since he arrived at camp a week ago, his participation has been limited. He underwent a scheduled MRI on Thursday and was cleared on Saturday.
“It feels good,” he said. “The first couple of days I was sitting around and was telling everybody, ‘Yeah, I want to play, too.’ It’s finally nice to get out there and be a part of everything and to be able to do everything.”
Depending how he feels on a daily basis, Napoli will slowly progress this spring with the intention of being ready for the season opener on April 1 against the Yankees in New York.
"It’s day-to-day but we’re going to try to ramp it up pretty quickly,” Napoli said. “Spring’s a little longer this year, so we’ve got some time. We’re going to be smart about it, but the goal is to be ready for Opening Day.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell believes Napoli will make a difference once he’s completely ready to play.
“He’s got very soft hands. Even watching him take BP, his movements are smooth,” Farrell said. “We’re confident he’s going to be a very good first baseman.”