Mike Napoli has yet to play a game in spring training -- not that there have been many of them. However, after baserunning drills on Sunday went by with no issue, he's been penciled in to play against the Pirates on Friday, as the team's first baseman per manager John Farrell. Before that, though, according to Peter Abraham at the Boston Globe, Napoli is scheduled to take live batting practice against another early season rehabber in Clay Buchholz, then he'll take to the bases again once more before putting on a glove on Friday.
Napoli underwent multiple MRI scans for his hip, as the Red Sox wanted to make sure he was in condition to play after signing him to a one-year deal with built-in protection against a hip injury. That's the reason for the delay, but, to this point, he seems ready to go from a health perspective. If he's starting to play in exhibition games on Friday, just a handful of games into the spring schedule, he won't be very far behind, either.
Speaking of Buchholz, he's scheduled to pitch a pair of frames against the Twins on Saturday. He'll start the contest, and it'll be his first spring action after a hamstring strain delayed his being on the same schedule as the rest of the projected Red Sox' rotation. The injury itself was never considered serious, and Buchholz successfully threw very shortly after the strain. There just isn't any reason to push players with mild injuries at this early stage, as the spring is meant to prepare the team for the regular season: Buchholz and the Red Sox will both be better off in the long run if they take it easy now rather than push him out there and risk making things worse.
The last bit from Abraham's injury round-up refers to Craig Breslow, who has yet to pitch this spring thanks to weakness in his shoulder. Felix Doubront also was dealing with weakness in his shoulder, reported at the same time as Breslow's, but he's moved past that, and had thrown a bullpen session almost immediately after it became known there was an issue.
Breslow, however, is going to continue to work on changing weakness to strength in his shoulder. As he's a reliever, and not one being stretched out, it won't take nearly as many appearances or innings to get him prepared for the regular season. The Red Sox can afford to hold back with Breslow, then increase his workload as exhibition games crawl closer to becoming real ones.
Scott Merkin, MLB.com's White Sox beat writer, reports that former Red Sox prospect and farmhand Lars Anderson is now a Toronto Blue Jay. Toronto claimed Anderson, who was designated this past Friday by the White Sox in order to make room for Connor Gillespie. If the claim had come in earlier, Anderson might have been able to face the man he was traded for last summer in Steven Wright. Alas, he can't get his revenge on the pitcher who indirectly set him on his winter's journey.
Anderson has been on the Red Sox, Indians, Diamondbacks, White Sox, and Blue Jays in the last seven months. His place in Toronto isn't necessarily assured, either, as his 40-man spot was opened up by moving Kyle Drabek to the 60-day disabled list. Even if he weren't a former Sox player, you have to kind of hope the game of 40-man musical chairs is now over, and he's found himself a new home. At least for more than a few weeks, anyway.