For Mike Napoli, it’s been a long road getting into the red Sox lineup but, according to masslive.com, he’ll be ready for action next weekend.
After a protracted contract negotiation with the Red Sox when it was discovered that he had avascular necrosis in both hips, Napoli has been taking medication to stem the tide of the progressive disease and working out to get ready for live play.
When spring training started, Napoli was restricted to batting practice and limited fielding drills but has now been running the bases at JetBlue Park. “It wasn’t a full-go, but it felt good to just run and make the turns,” Napoli told the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham. “It felt good just running,” Napoli said. “Just progress from there. I had a little conversation about it at the end, I want to get close to that full burst from first to third.”
Although Napoli understands the caution the Red Sox have taken with his conditioning he says that he continues to feel no pain or discomfort from his condition.
“It feels good. I expect to be fine. I’m just going through the steps of what they want me to do,” Napoli said as he continued his conversation with Abraham. “I’m fine with it, as long as I’m ready for Opening Day, which I should be easily. It’s a long spring, I’ll just get myself in shape and get ready to go.”
Although the Red Sox have options at first base, there is pressure for Napoli to have a solid season. Sox farmhand Mauro Gomez and the recently acquired Lyle Overbay and Mike Carp can all play first base. While Napoli is hard at work boning up on what will likely be his only position in 2013, with rare catching exceptions, his health will determine if the Red Sox are solid at first base. Frankly, even with Napoli’s defensive shortcomings, none of the other three are as good as Napoli if he’s healthy.
Perhaps next weekend will be the end of one journey for Napoli and the Red Sox and the beginning of a smoother sailing.