8/15/2013 7:10 P.M. ET
Napoli gets planned break from starting lineup
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
TORONTO -- A day after he belted a game-tying homer with two outs in the ninth, Mike Napoli found himself on the bench for Thursday's game against Blue Jays lefty Mark Buehrle.
It turns out manager John Farrell had already planned for Napoli to have the night off, and decided to stick with the schedule. Napoli has slumped mightily in recent weeks, but perhaps the homer is a sign that he could snap out of it soon.
"The decision was made for this to be a down day for him," Farrell said. "We're going to get in at 3 in the morning. We've got another left-hander in [Andy] Pettitte on the mound against us tomorrow night. And we're just trying to balance the schedule. We've got a challenging 10 days ahead of us, and just trying to keep everyone involved as best we can and find matchups where it might make the most sense."
Daniel Nava got the start at first in place of Napoli. Farrell indicated Tuesday that Nava and Mike Carp could start to be mixed in more often at first base, depending on matchups.
Nava just learned how to play first base in Spring Training, but has adapted nicely.
"Much more comfortable. I'm still learning on the job," said Nava. "Fortunately, I have [Brian] Butterfield and the infield instruction, and advanced understanding of where every ball is going to be hit. I don't have to worry about anything. It helps, though, knowing that we are prepared. It helps knowing that I have guys around the corner or on the other side of the field that are in the right spots."
Red Sox on board with plans for expanded replay
TORONTO -- The plans by Major League Baseball to increase instant replay for the 2014 season are a big hit in the Red Sox's clubhouse.
Under the new proposed system, the only type of play that won't be reviewable are balls and strikes.
There were two games this season Boston lost to top American League contenders in large part because of obvious missed calls.
The most glaring was Daniel Nava being called out at home plate by Jerry Meals on July 29 against the Rays. Television replays clearly showed Nava got his foot in before the tag, only to be called out. After the game, Meals admitted that he was out of position and missed the call. If Nava had been called safe, the Red Sox would have tied the game.
"The one against Tampa Bay, that would have been the tying run," said Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes. "If that was the last game of the year, Tampa Bay wins the AL East on an umpire's missed call.
"I think for a while, I was really against it. I do like the human element. I don't think it's a knock on the umpires, but I think the game is faster than it's ever been. You're talking big power-hitting guys running 3.8's to first. You're thinking this guy is not going to score and he does. You're thinking about this guy down the right-field line just whistling a ball to home plate. It might catch you off guard if you're not in position. That was almost too fast to call. With our technology, let's use it."
Nava was involved in another controversial call on June 23 at Detroit when Avisail Garcia hit a fly ball to deep right. Nava drifted back and made the catch, but the ball popped out as he was making the transfer for the throw. Second-base umpire Mike DiMuro ruled it a drop and Garcia scored the go-ahead run in a 7-5 victory for Detroit.
"You don't like to take the human element out of the game because that's what makes baseball baseball," said Nava. "But if it can help make some calls right, I think everyone is a fan of that."
Red Sox manager John Farrell will be directly involved if the proposed process goes through, as he will be able to challenge one call in the first six innings, and two from the seventh inning on.
"I think, just in general, the inclusion of video replay is good for the game," said Farrell. "I think the game is ready for additional technology to be brought in. And it will be interesting to see if any adjustments, or what the final use of it, or availability of it will be, once they get through the negotiations in the offseason."