2/27/2013 8:44 P.M. ET
Napoli on track for Friday's Grapefruit debut
By Adam Berry / MLB.com
SARASOTA, Fla. -- First baseman Mike Napoli ran the bases on Wednesday in Fort Myers, Fla., and is set to make his Grapefruit League debut on Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET, against the Pirates.
Manager John Farrell said that Napoli, who eased into Spring Training due to a hip condition, will get "a couple of" at-bats and start at first base. Napoli is under no restrictions, but Farrell expects him to "play under control, particularly if he gets on base.
"The one thing that we're still being a little cautious with is just the sliding," Farrell added. "We're not in a position to say, 'Don't slide,' but if he does, [he needs to] just give himself ample time to stop before jarring himself on the bag."
Farrell said that Napoli is still working to get more comfortable at first base, more so with handling cutoffs and relays than with simply fielding ground balls, but feels that his experience at catcher will help him in some regards.
"Already you can see his hands work very cleanly with balls in the dirt. He plays low to the ground, I think, by virtue of having spent so many years behind the plate," Farrell said. "You see his footwork. For a guy his size, he's still got quick feet. He's agile. In time I think he'll become a very good first baseman."
Also working out at the Spring Training complex on Wednesday morning was Felix Doubront. The left-hander threw two simulated innings and "looked very good," according to Farrell. Doubront is still scheduled to start on Monday against the Rays at JetBlue Park.
Ortiz leaves club to attend to personal matter
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Designated hitter David Ortiz will be away from the Red Sox for a few days as he attends to a personal issue, according to manager John Farrell.
Wednesday was Ortiz's first day away, and it's believed that he went home to the Dominican Republic. Farrell said that Ortiz will rejoin the team "no later than Friday."
Farrell added that Ortiz, who is coming off a serious injury to his right Achilles, is getting closer to running the bases. Ortiz had been participating in running and agility drills before taking his leave. Both he and the Red Sox have maintained that he will be ready to play come Opening Day.
Aceves officially added to Team Mexico's roster
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Right fielder Alfredo Aceves and outfielder Shane Victorino will leave camp on Sunday and report to their respective World Baseball Classic teams, manager John Farrell said on Wednesday at Ed Smith Stadium.
Victorino will join Team USA in Arizona, and Aceves will do the same for Team Mexico. Aceves was believed to be on Mexico's roster all along, and was listed on its provisional roster, but Farrell revealed that Aceves actually hadn't been officially added to the club until Wednesday.
"When the final roster came out for Team Mexico, Alfredo was not on it, then he was added today," Farrell said. "I don't know how they came to it, but the notice was sent out today that he has now been added."
Aceves is still scheduled to pitch for the Red Sox on Saturday against the Twins at Hammond Stadium. He is expected to be a starter for Mexico, and the Red Sox have been stretching him out to prepare him. As far as Farrell knows, Aceves is still expected to fill that role.
"We were under the understanding that he would go in as a starting pitcher. That's why we brought him in to do the same," he said. "That has not been defined. ... The roster was just defined."
Infielder Xander Bogaerts left camp on Saturday to join the Netherlands squad in Taiwan. The Netherlands will play its first game, against Korea, on Saturday.
Farrell gives thoughts on collision debate
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Manager John Farrell chimed in on Wednesday on the debate regarding the banning of home-plate collisions.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, a former catcher, recently expressed his support of the movement. Giants skipper Bruce Bochy, also a former catcher, has been leading that charge since his backstop, Buster Posey, sustained gruesome leg and ankle injuries on May 25, 2011.
"You want the aggressiveness to always remain in the game, but yet, at the same time, when a catcher can be opened up for, in some cases, a very severe injury, you almost have to listen to the comments of Mike and Bruce Bochy, former catchers that have probably sustained a severe injury from it," Farrell said. "Their comments probably resonate more than those who have not been back there.
"I take the view of the game from a traditional standpoint, and you want good, hard play as long as it's not a cheap shot. Where do you draw the line, though, on a play at the plate? If it's a hard slide that makes contact, maybe just a mandatory slide rather than just a head-up, full-on-blown collision, I can see the merit of preserving guys' health."
Farrell has never been directly involved in a collision like Posey's but has seen plenty from across the field, agreeing they can be "scary" to watch.
Asked whether he has told his catchers to avoid contact in a similar situation, he said, "The way they're schooled, the way they're taught, there's a way to receive that ball and still protect the plate and cover themselves.
"The one thing you can't guard against is, that catcher trying to receive a throw, is he thinking whether the guy's going to slide? There's really only one way to go about it, and that's to protect the plate and at the same time cover themselves up to protect themselves."
• The Red Sox added a "B" game in addition to Thursday's contest against the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla. The additional game will take place at 10 a.m. ET against the Twins at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla. Manager John Farrell said that Boston's "B"-game pitching staff will consist of Minor Leaguers, and a few position players from Major League camp will also participate. The Twins asked for the additional game because they needed more innings for their pitchers.