Baseball players are not necessarily a group reputed for their toughness, at least as compared to the athletes from other sports. Boston Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli is doing his best to buck that perception.
Quoted in the Boston Globe, Napoli said he hopes to play Thursday after dislocating his finger in what was a fairly gruesome-looking injury on Tuesday.
Hopefully I’ll play [Thursday]. It’s just a question of being able to hold the bat…I could play defense with it fine I think.”
Of course it does not take a baseball guru to know that the value Napoli brings to the Red Sox is with his bat and not with his defense, so the team will hope to learn that he can swing the bat normally in the next few days.
The initial impression of the injury was that it would be more serious and land the veteran slugger on the disabled list, with manager John Farrell saying that he feared the injury would keep Napoli out four weeks. If he avoids the DL that will be a huge plus for the Red Sox.
Napoli is off to a nice start this season, batting .302/.393/.509 with three home runs and nine RBI so far. If he does play on Thursday, he will also be the league leader in toughness and grittiness.