ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Red Sox were taking a good-natured tact toward "Spittergate" as they prepared to take on the Rangers in a meeting of division leaders tonight at Rangers Ballpark.
Neatly arranged on the top shelf of pitcher Ryan Dempster’s locker in the visiting clubhouse was a bottle of baby oil, a tube of Vaseline and a container of coca butter.
Clay Buchholz, accused on Thursday by Toronto television analyst Jack Morris of throwing spitters, snapped a photo of the locker.
“I think it’s hilarious," Dempster said of the prank.
And what of the attention the Morris accusation is getting?
“Unfortunate," he said. “Guys just can’t be good I guess."
Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Buchholz has handled the situation very well. And he likes the way the rest of the team has supported their 6-0 pitcher .
“We’ve become a closer-knit group and when this happens to one, then 24 guys take it on themselves for support," Farrell said. “I think we’ll find a way to turn this into a positive."
When somebody asked the manager if the next best thing to throwing a spitter is to have people think you are throwing one, Farrell chuckled and agreed.
Farrell said it was important to keep in mind the accusation was made by someone that wasn’t even playing.
Homecoming for Napoli: Mike Napoli was in such high media demand upon his return to Texas that a special interview session was set up in the Red Sox dugout.
Napoli is showing Red Sox fans why he was a fan favorite in Texas.
Rangers fans struck out "Nap-o-li" chants when he came to the plate.
“I remember the first time they did it, a playoff game against Tampa Bay and James Shields was pitching," Napoli said. “I had to step out and compose myself.
“I loved my two years here," Napoli said. “I could go out and be myself and be the player I knew I could be. I’m not taking anything away from Anaheim, but I got to play a lot more."
Napoli said he planned to catch up with former Rangers teammates during batting practice.
“Between the lines, I’m trying to win. So there won’t be much said. But it’s going to be fun," he said.
Napoli said the Red Sox and Rangers are teams with two great clubhouses.
Over the last seven games, Napoli is batting .355 with 10 RBIs and had a two-homer game against Toronto on Wednesday.
“I still wasn’t sure how I’d perform over here, but everything has worked out perfect," he said.
Back is better, Victorino starts: After a seven-game absence due to a back injury, Shane Victorino draws the start in right field and hits second in the batting order.
“It’s great to have him back on the field, whether he’s in there every day or every other day, so he can get back in the flow of things," Farrell said.
Before his injury, Victorino was off to a solid start, batting .292 with eight RBIs. Daniel Nava filled in nicely in Victorino’s absence with three multi-hit games in his last five starts.
Bailey better: Red Sox save leader Andrew Bailey, who last pitched on April 28, is progressing, Farrell said, but would pitch Friday only in an emergency situation. Bailey has a biceps injury that first surfaced on Sunday.
Farrell said Bailey worked out early on Friday and the reports were positive.
Joel Hanrahan, off the DL on Tuesday, has four saves in five chances.