DENVER -- Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli was not in the starting lineup for the third straight game Tuesday night. With the team having an off-day Monday, Napoli has had a four-day break from playing with the plantar fasciitis that has affected his left foot since early July.
Napoli had a cortisone injection in mid-August that alleviated some of the discomfort, but said he has not had another shot. “It hasn’t even been discussed,’’ he said. “It feels pretty good. It feels better the more I rest it.’’
With no DH in a National League park, David Ortiz was in the starting lineup at first base.
Napoli said he is available to pinch hit, but said he is likely to sit again Wednesday night. With another off-day Thursday, that would give him six full days off the foot before the season-ending, three-game series against the Orioles in Baltimore.
* Jacoby Ellsbury took batting practice Tuesday and if he comes through that OK, he should play at least part of the game Wednesday, manager John Farrell said.
(UPDATE: Farrell said after the game that Ellsbury has been cleared to play and will play center field and bat leadoff Wednesday.)
* With the AL Division Series not scheduled to begin until Oct. 4, a week from Friday, Farrell said he will give the team next Monday off, then schedule workouts for the next three days. That will include an intrasquad game on Wednesday, he said.
Farrell said he was not familiar with the story involving Ted Williams and the 1946 Red Sox, who had a similar break before the World Series because the National League needed a best-of-three playoff to determine its champion. The Sox scheduled exhibition games against a team of AL all-stars; Williams was hit by a pitch in his right elbow by Washington Senators left-hander Mickey Haefner.
"He threw me a little sidearm curveball," Williams wrote in his autobiography. "I kind of held up waiting for it to break. It hit me right on the tip of my right elbow. The elbow went up like a balloon. It turned blue. The World Series was to begin three days later, but I couldn't take batting practice for two days."
Williams batted .200 in the seven-game World Series won by St. Louis, and all five hits were singles. That was the only Series of his 21-year big-league career.
After the story was relayed to him, Farrell said, “We won’t go through our workouts with reckless abandon, but there’s still work that needs to be done. In any workout situation, even in spring training, injuries are part of it. I think it’s important to have a day in those three days that is as intense and as game speed as we can get. That’s the balance.’’
* Farrell said he probably will hold off on announcing his postseason starting rotation until at least the weekend. Jon Lester is pitching Saturday in Baltimore, so he would be on schedule to start the opener with an extra day’s rest, which appears the most likely scenario.
* Farrell said the team has not yet decided on the postseason roster, noting that a “couple of spots” remain open. He said he has yet to decide on the number of pitchers the Sox will carry in the first round.