Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Boston Red Sox [Print without images]

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Napoli enjoying recent power surge

By Joe McDonald

BOSTON -- Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli has hit some long home runs during his career. He's shown that offensive prowess in his first season with Boston and it was once again on display Tuesday night.

Napoli's solo home run to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning, during the Sox's 13-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles, cleared everything over the left-center field wall and landed on the roof of a parking garage across the street. The 432-foot shot was his 17th homer of the season and had the 36,226 fans in attendance coming out of their seats in amazement.

Even his teammates continue to be wowed by Napoli's strength.

"There were a lot of 'Oh. My. Gods.' It's impressive," said Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks. "The pop that he has up there, he's going to get his money's worth, that's for sure. He's really starting to see the ball well."

So, what does it feel like to hit a ball and know instantly it's gone?

"Off the bat, sometimes there's no feeling. It's weird," Napoli said. "When everything is right and everything's in the right position, you hit the ball so perfect on the barrel, there's almost no feeling. It just happens so quick and it's so pure. It definitely feels good when you hit a ball like that.

"People always ask me what it's like to hit a long home run like that, but it really doesn't matter to me. It could have gone in the first row and I get the same feeling, that adrenaline rush of hitting a home run. It's a great feeling."

During Sunday's 8-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Napoli crushed a two-run home run into the left field seats in the top of the ninth inning.

"Everything was perfect," Napoli explained. "To square up a ball, your legs are into it, you're strong with your hands, yeah, it's a good feeling."

Napoli has been bothered by plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but said it does not hamper his swing.

"I've never had any trouble with my foot hitting," he said. "It's just in the field and running, that's when it bothers me the most. My foot feels great when I hit. It's not even an issue."