An ailing Red Sox lineup will be reinforced today as Mike Napoli will return from his stint on the 15-day disabled list.
Napoli got off to a quick start to the season, slashing .301/.393/.516 in April, before dislocating his finger sliding back to first base. That dislocated finger would continue to bother him for the next month– Napoli hit just .186/.368/.237 in May– until the Red Sox placed Napoli on the 15-day disabled list in the hopes that some rest could help to heal his finger and in turn, his production.
That return from the disabled list will come at an opportune time as well. The Red Sox have lost five consecutive games, and fifteen of their last twenty-two games, largely due to a lack of production in their offense. If Napoli can return at full force and approach his April performance, then that will add an entirely new dimension of power to a struggling Boston offense.
The Red Sox have not yet announced who will be optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, but it will likely be Alex Hassan. Meanwhile, Brock Holt– who has been playing first base since the injury of Mike Carp– will move to left field where he will look to continue his stellar recent performance. With Holt remaining at the top of the order and then the 2-3-4 combination of Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia, and David Ortiz, it’s easy to see Napoli’s return having an invigorating effect on the offense.
He will give the Red Sox a relatively strong 1-6 portion of their lineup, with A.J. Pierzysnki hitting in the six-hole, which could certainly improve the Red Sox offense in a hurry. Assuming his finger is relatively healthy and he returns to his April form, or close to it, this could be the first push in the right direction for a struggling Boston squad.