Quick hits: Napoli ailing, Buchholz on track

June, 14, 2013
6/14/13
8:04
PM ET
BALTIMORE -- Quick hits on a perfect night for baseball (79 degrees, no humidity) in The House That Lucchino Built:

* Mike Napoli, who came out of Thursday's game in the bottom of the third inning, remains ill and was unavailable for Friday night's game. The first baseman reported light-headedness, among other symptoms, manager John Farrell said.

Napoli has undergone medical testing, Farrell said, but so far the medical staff has been unable to pinpoint the cause of his condition.

"That's probably the most puzzling thing," Farrell said. "We don't know if it was the humidity last night. We've had a virus circulating through the clubhouse last three weeks. We're trying to get every test we can to get to the bottom of it and give the information to Mike."

Napoli has played in 66 of Boston's first 69 games, including 61 starts at first base. Mike Carp, who homered after replacing Napoli on Thursday night, made his sixth start at first. The Sox were 4-1 in games Carp started at first.

* Barring a setback Saturday, Clay Buchholz is in line to pitch a bullpen Sunday and make a start Tuesday in Boston against the Rays. He played catch from 90 feet Friday and reported improvement in his neck condition.

"Everything is moving in the right direction," Farrell said. "Today was a very good step."

* Rubby De La Rosa became the fourth player from Pawtucket to be called up this week. De La Rosa, who has been used exclusively as a starter by the Pawsox but has been kept on a strict innings progression, was available out of the pen Friday night, for multiple innings if necessary, Farrell said. Depending on his usage out of the pen, he remains a candidate to start one of the games in Tuesday's doubleheader.

"He can give us multiple innings in the event something unforeseen happens in the early innings," Farrell said. "We know he has been stretched out to 75 to 80 pitches. Ideally he'd start a clean inning. He was the most fresh on the roster to tap into and add to a bullpen that has been taxed of late."

De La Rosa, 24, made his big league debut two years ago for the Dodgers and made 13 appearances before undergoing Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. He pitched for the Dodgers once last season, three days before the Aug. 25 trade that sent him to the Red Sox.

"Of late, the most important thing is the overall command of his fastball is improved," Farrell said. "This is a guy who is not brand-new to the big leagues. Every report we have says he is like he threw in spring training, with power, and has shown no issues coming off Tommy John. We're looking forward to him coming to start his career for us."

De La Rosa, who was rained out of a start in Pawtucket on Thursday night, said he was sleeping when he got the call informing him he was on his way to Boston. "I'm excited," said De La Rosa, who joins Jose De La Torre, Alfredo Aceves and Alex Wilson as PawSox players called up this week.

Wilson was optioned back to make room for De La Rosa. "He understands he's on the elevator," Farrell said, referring to Wilson grasping that as a player with options, he can be shuttled back and forth.

* Stephen Drew, who is batting .133 (4-for-30) in his last eight games, was replaced at shortstop by Jose Iglesias on Friday night. Farrell said the plan was for Drew to sit one of the weekend games.

"The number of innings we've played this week, we're trying to get fresh legs on the field," said Farrell, who also had David Ross behind the plate for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who caught all 14 innings Monday, 9 on Wednesday, and all 13 on Thursday. "It would be ideal for Iggy to play a couple other positions before the weekend is out. We're in that spot [where] guys are showing a little fatigue."

Could that mean a day off for Dustin Pedroia, who has started all 69 games? He came into Friday's game with 3 hits in his last 15 at-bats.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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