Mike Napoli ‘a Little Bit Ahead’ of David Ortiz in Return to Game Progression, But John Farrell Optimistic About Both


John Farrell, Ben CheringtonMike Napoli and David Ortiz aren’t ready to be inserted into the Red Sox’ lineup just yet, but both are progressing toward returning to game action soon.

Farrell spoke to the media in Fort Myers on Thursday, and he touched on the status of the two sluggers, who figure to be a big part of the Red Sox’ offensive attack this season. Napoli, of course, has been testing out his hips in the wake of being diagnosed with a condition, although he’s been symptom-free since the diagnosis. Ortiz is still battling his way back from an Achilles injury that cost him a big chunk of games last season.

Farrell said Thursday that he’s not going to put any specific dates on either player’s return to game action, but he expects Napoli to be taking at-bats later next week.

“David will maintain the agility program that he’s on, and that continues to increase in intensity, much like with Mike,” Farrell told reporters. “They’ll go through a base-running progression to be fully cleared. Right now, there’s been no reason to think that’s not going to continue on its path.”

As mentioned, Ortiz missed the end of last season as well. However, Farrell doesn’t think it will take Ortiz long to get ready once he returns to game action. The Sox skipper estimates that it takes good hitters roughly two weeks to shake off the rust during spring training.

All in all, Farrell sounds relatively optimistic about both players’ spring thus far.

“Napoli is a little bit ahead of David. My sense is, based on our medical staff, [Napoli will] run the bases sometime next week and provided everything comes out of that fine, which we expect, I think later next week you’ll see him in the lineup,” Farrell said.

The Red Sox kick off their spring training slate of games on Thursday with split squad action against Northeastern and Boston College.

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