FORT MYERS, Fla. – Mike Napoli made his debut at JetBlue Park Sunday afternoon, arriving carrying a Texas Rangers equipment bag and first baseman’s glove after driving over from Fort Lauderdale.
After playing a light game of catch with John Lackey, Napoli discussed the condition of his hips, which were diagnosed with possessing Avascular necrosis (AVN).
The catcher-turned-first baseman said that other than some time immediately after the diagnosis, the condition has not interrupted his preparation.
“I don’t have any symptoms,” he said. “I went through a physical and they checked out my hip and they found I had AVN. It’s something I don’t feel. I’m on medicine now. I have an MRI coming up to see how everything is and just go from there. Just take it day by day and see what happens. I’ve been hitting, throwing, doing everything, working out. I was doing everything before I found out I had it. We took a little step back, staying off impact for a while, see what that does and just go from there.”
Napoli said that while the condition – which was diagnosed after he had agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal with the Red Sox on Dec. 33 – threw some uncertainty his way, there wasn’t any sense that he would be landing with a different club.
“No, because we never really squashed anything,” said Napoli when asked if he believed another team would lock up his services during the 51 days between Red Sox agreements. “They always expressed they want me here. We never lost contact. We just had to figure out what the problem was and what was going on in my hips. It never [entered] my mind I wasn’t going to be here.
“From Day 1 with the three-year contract I was happy to be here. Everything worked out. We got it figured out and we’ll go from there.”
Yet, even though Napoli was confident he would be able to come to terms with the Red Sox (eventually settling on an incentive-laden, one-year deal), he did admit to some anxious moments when trying to determine the extend of his ailment.
“I was just trying to figure out what was wrong,” he said. “I had to see a bunch of doctors, flying all over the country, getting different opinions. The first thing was to see where my health was and what I could do. When we figured that out we were able to talk to teams again and it came down to signing here.”
Napoli will be working exclusively at first base throughout spring training, having previously played 133 major league games at the position.
Listening to the 31-year-old, however, and there seems to be some hope that catching isn’t totally out of his future plans.
“I’ve been out there before. I’m comfortable,” he said regarding playing first base. “It’s not like I’m out there on an island, or anything. I’ll go out there and I’ll work at it and try to make myself better every day. I’m excited. It will be a lot more taking stress off my body being over there then behind the plate. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully this hip thing goes away and I’ll be able to get behind the plate. For now we’re going to worry about playing first base and go from there.
“You go out there and take ground balls, but it’s always easier being in the same position all the time. You just have to work at it, take your ground balls and get better at it.”
Greg and Chris talk more offseason happenings with the Pats and their plans. They talk about some of the free agents toward the bottom of the list with Stevan Ridley and Dan Connolly. Price thinks that Connolly could end up back with the Pats and Ridley elsewhere (Cowboys?), but Greg thinks they both could be back. They also chat about the departure of VInce Wilfork and what he meant to the organization, the re-signing of McCourty and more.
The very first airing of the offseason edition of NFL Sunday gets underway with Greg and Chris delving into the free agency period and how the Pats made out. Of course they lost Revis to the Jets, but what else went on? Greg isn't over the loss of Revis yet and the guys discuss what went into that whole ordeal. Price is looking forward to the additions of Chandler and Cadet. They also get a call from Mike Petraglia and get his thoughts on the Pats offseason moves.
We talk to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News about his column today which basically accuses the Patriots of sour grapes for asking the league to enforce their own rules against tampering.
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
We talk to Chris Mannix from SI to break down the C's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and the crazy trade deadline in the rest of the NBA.
Mut, Tomase, and Bradford kick things off talking about Shane Victorino taking offense to people reading into some comments he made about trading for Cole Hamels. They also discuss Blake Swihart and how soon he could be up if Christian Vazquez starts the season on the DL.
Joe Kelly joined the Hot Stove show where he talked about being ready for his next spring training start after a biceps ailment forced him out of his last outing, he talks about his NCAA brackets and how teammate Wade Miley has a perfect bracket still.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase kick off this weeks show by talking to Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly about his biceps recovery, getting ready for the season and his NCAA brackets. They then talk about the Red Sox depth at closer with Koji Uehara questionable for the start of the season.
Jack Edwards of NESN joins Dale, Michael and Jerry. With 9 games left the Bruins don't have much if any margin of error, and Jack knows it.
DJ, Joe and Pete talk more playoff scenarios in hour 2 and if the Bruins can get in, they'll be a very dangerous team... to the point where DJ thinks teams would much rather face the Senators and are doing their best to oust the Bruins from the equation. It's become apparent now more than ever that Chiarelli probably needed to pull the trigger on a deal for a defenseman at the trade deadline. Also. Bruce Garrioch from the Ottawa Sun joins the boys to discuss the Hamburglar and the Senators and Bruins being neck-and-neck for a playoff spot.
With the Senators hot on the tail of the Bruins for a spot in the playoffs, Bruce Garrioch from the Ottawa Sun calls into Sunday Skate. He talks about "the Hamburglar" craze sweeping through the league as goalie Andrew Hammond has really stepped up for Ottawa. They discuss playoff chances, the fans' reaction in Ottawa and more.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys discussed Darrelle Revis' comments on his contract offer from the Patriots.
The guys opened the show by discussing the rumored profanity laced tirade by Bill Belichick.
Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joins the show to talk about the struggling Bruins, the play of Zdeno Chara, and the future of Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli
Rich Cimini of ESPN New York joined the show to talk about the ongoing tampering scandals between the Jets and the Patriots.
Christian does not impress the high school girls hockey team.
Dale and Michael discuss the collective egg laid by the Celtics against the Heat, and how the Bruins turnaround better begin tonight if they want it to begin at all.
We wrap up the day with the best in sound and more...
We discuss Shane Victorino's call-out of another local radio show, and debate the merits of Victorino's claims.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Mut opens his show talking about the New York Jets filing tampering charges on the Patriots
Mikey, Mut, and Lucy are talking about all things New England sports, the Red Sox spring training, more Darrelle Revis and Jets talk, and some Bruins mixed in.
Mike Mulloy joins Chris in the studio to talk Raw and Wrestlemania.
WEEI’s Scott McLaughlin and College Hockey News’ Adam Wodon preview this year’s NCAA regionals and take a look at the chances for each of the Boston-area teams in the field. They also discuss BU’s Jack Eichel, Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey and the Hobey Baker Award.
We discuss the annual joke that is the New York Jets, and their latest Jets-like move. Plus how on earth could you possibly choose to be a Jets fan.More from this show
Things are getting silly in the AFC East, as reports came out late last night the Jets have turned around and essentially accused the Patriots of counter-tampering.More from this show