Mike Napoli dislocates finger on slide

ByGordon Edes ESPN logo
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CHICAGO -- It took only a moment for Mike Napoli to realize he was in trouble.

"I look at my finger," the Boston Red Sox first baseman said, "and it's sideways."

The ring finger on Napoli's left hand was sticking out at an unnatural angle after he dove headfirst into second base while advancing on a wild pitch in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox.

From Napoli's retelling, second-base umpire Jim Joyce was even more distressed than Napoli by what he saw.

"Jim Joyce was going, 'Oh my God,' calling for the trainer," said Napoli, who was able to smile while describing the umpire's reaction, perhaps because by that time X-rays had returned negative, indicating no fracture.

The finger was dislocated, the Red Sox said, and reset by a White Sox team doctor. Napoli wore a splint on the finger as he spoke with reporters.

"It's not broke," he said. "I can play with some soreness. I guess we'll see how it goes tomorrow."

Napoli's departure from the game came at an inopportune time for the Red Sox. His replacement at first base, Mike Carp, was unable to glove a throw from rookie shortstop Xander Bogaerts that arrived at the bag on a bounce. Carp did not field the throw cleanly -- an out would have sent the game into extra innings -- and Alexei Ramirez pranced across home plate with the winning run in Chicago's 2-1 victory over the Red Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

"Thirty-five degrees, sitting on the bench all game, it's tough to pick a ball like that," Napoli said.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said that for now, the Red Sox are treating Napoli's availability on a day-to-day basis. The team already has two regulars on the disabled list, outfielder Shane Victorino and third baseman Will Middlebrooks, while second baseman Dustin Pedroia has not started either of the past two games because of inflammation in his left wrist, and closer Koji Uehara has not pitched since last Wednesday after reporting stiffness in the back of his right shoulder.

"It's not bad," Napoli said. "It just stinks that guys are going down. It's part of baseball. You have to keep going, and guys have to step in. Luckily, it's not bad."

Napoli sustained a gruesome ankle injury when someone slid into him at home plate during Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, but this was the first time, he said, he had ever been injured while he was sliding. Typically, he said, he doesn't slide headfirst.

"I don't do it often,'' he said, "but a play like that, I don't know what kind of throw they're going to make. I see [shortstop] Alexei [Ramirez] come across, my first instinct was to get to the bag as quick as I could."

Napoli had broken for second when a pitch from Chicago reliever Donnie Veal bounced away from the plate.

"A good 'dirt-ball' read like that," Napoli said, commending his baserunning instincts. "I'm digging myself, then I look at my finger, and it's sideways. The good news is it's not broken."