Gritty new guy Napoli becoming a leader with Tribe

Veteran signed free-agent deal with club in September

Gritty new guy Napoli becoming a leader with Tribe

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- In the eighth inning of Friday's 6-1 loss to the Rockies, Mike Napoli fouled off six pitches and concluded his 12-pitch at-bat with a walk.

It was a plate appearance that will be lost in the box scores, but it exemplified the type of grit Napoli can bring to the Indians.

"He's not changing his game," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's in a new place, but the way he views things and goes about things is the exact same. That plays anywhere."

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Napoli, 34, who signed a free-agent contract with the Indians in September, is still the new guy in the clubhouse. But that doesn't mean he can't develop into a leader as his hard-nosed approach isn't going unnoticed.

"When you go do your job the right way, you work hard and you bring people with you and you help hold them accountable, that's leadership," Francona said. "I'm sure as you grow comfortable in your new surroundings, it's easier."

Napoli's diving stop

Worth noting

Michael Brantley, who took batting practice on the field for the first time Friday as he works his way back from right shoulder surgery, got through the session without any setbacks and was scheduled to take batting practice again on Saturday.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.