Red Sox Notes: Mike Napoli Shocks Himself With Crazy Display Of Power


March 31, 2015

The Boston Red Sox spent roughly three hours Monday night punishing a little white ball with red laces all over JetBlue Park.

Boston?s offense pounded 19 hits en route to a 14-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. The Red Sox will officially clinch the 2015 Chairman?s Cup with one more victory over their Lee County brethren. The teams are scheduled to play four more times before Opening Day.

While the Red Sox certainly will take the result of Monday?s game, there were a couple of other less encouraging developments earlier in the day. Let?s break it all down.

— The Red Sox placed catcher Christian Vazquez on the 60-day disabled list with a right elbow sprain. The 24-year-old is scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday.

The Red Sox will know more information after Wednesday?s appointment, but things certainly don?t look good. If Vazquez needs to undergo surgery, he could miss the entire season.

— The Red Sox acquired catcher Sandy Leon from the Washington Nationals in exchange for cash considerations. He?ll likely compete with Humberto Quintero over the final week of spring training for Boston?s backup catcher job, as Blake Swihart is expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

— Koji Uehara, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury, said he expects to begin the season on the disabled list.

— Justin Masterson was sharp in Monday?s win.

Masterson allowed only one unearned run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one in what definitely was his strongest outing of spring training.

Masterson is at his best when he?s forcing hitters to put the ball on the ground. The right-hander generated seven ground ball outs Monday, so that?s a very important step forward.

?Just able to continually get ground balls,? Masterson told reporters in Fort Myers, Fla. ?Some nice fly balls that I got some good plays by guys in the field. But overall, got some ground balls when we needed to. If it didn?t always go at the guy, it was still on the ground. That?s perfect. That?s what I want to see.?

— The Red Sox?s offense was downright lethal.

The Sox scored six runs in the fourth inning to seize control. Mookie Betts, David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts, Mike Napoli and Jeff Bianchi finished with two hits apiece.

Boston had eight extra-base hits.

“What I’m really excited about is, you’re going to have a different guy who I feel is just going to go on hot streaks for a while,? Masterson said. ?You’ll have a week of this guy, a week of that guy and when they all come together, I’m going to sit there and just watch. Put my feet back and say, ‘This is awesome.’ ”

— Betts did it with his glove, too.

— Napoli flexed his muscles in the fourth inning by launching a broken-bat home run.

The bat shattered, leaving Napoli with only the handle in his hands. The ball still cleared the JetBlue Green Monster, though, making for an awesome display of power that even surprised the slugger.

“It?s never happened before,” Napoli told reporters of his broken-bat homer. “I think I broke it on my at-bat before when I hit the ball to right (field). I wasn?t sure, but I thought I hit it on the barrel. It was just a weird feeling. The bat exploded and I was just kind of sitting there. It?s a weird feeling anytime you do that. I don?t know. I can?t really explain it.

“I was just kind of running around the bases like, ?What just happened?'”

Napoli has four home runs this spring.

Click to see Napoli’s broken-bat homer >>

— Robbie Ross Jr. and Brandon Workman — two candidates to secure one of Boston?s final bullpen spots — each pitched a scoreless outing.

Ross struck out two and allowed one hit over 1 1/3 innings. Workman struck out two in a hitless frame.

Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images

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