BOSTON -- Mike Napoli’s home run Sunday night in Los Angeles was his third in 104 plate appearances since he hit two against the Yankees on July 21, including an 11th-inning walkoff home run off Yankee reliever Adam Warren.
Napoli had five hits, drove in four runs and scored three in two weekend games against the Dodgers, his first action since receiving a cortisone injection to treat the plantar fasciitis in his left foot, a condition that he says first flared in early July in Anaheim.
Napoli acknowledged Sunday night that even with the injection, the condition continues to bother him, though it gave him some temporary relief, and he’s not certain how long before the injection wears off.
“I mean, I still feel it now," he said. “It’s just something I have to grind through. It definitely feels better than it did, but it’s the end of the year. It’s just something to fight through and do whatever I can to be on the field."
Manager John Farrell has made it clear he does not expect to be able to run out Napoli every day the rest of the season, that he will be cycling in Mike Carp and Daniel Nava to play first when Napoli is unable to go. There is also a slight possibility that Will Middlebrooks could see some action there; he has taken some ground balls at first.
Napoli said he doesn’t believe he can be administered another cortisone shot in the season’s final five weeks. There is a danger that the plantar fascia, the thick fibrous tissue that starts at the heel bone and runs along the sole toward the toes, could weaken and ultimately rupture from too many injections.
“I don’t think I can take one for the rest of year," he said. “But we’re going to do whatever we can. They’re going to treat me every day and I’m going to do what I can to stay on the field."
Napoli picked up an extra $1 million this weekend when he reached 475 plate appearances (he is now at 481). Under the terms of his reworked contract, Napoli has already tacked on an additional $6 million to his $5 million base salary in performance bonuses based on days on the active roster and plate appearances. He can earn an additional $2 million either by reaching 625 plate appearances ($1 million for 550, $1 million for 625) or by being on the roster for 165 days, which he’ll do if he stays healthy.