Mike Napoli, Adam LaRoche are on the Red Sox’ radar


That’s the report from Nick Cafardo.

Napoli would be who I’d go after first if I was running the Sox.  He’s two years younger than LaRoche. More flexible too, obviously, as he can catch even if he is more likely to play first base in Boston. He had an off year in 2012 but still smacked 24 homers in 108 games and took a lot of walks.

LaRoche hit .271/.343/.510 with 33 homers and drove in 100 in 2012. And he’s slick with the glove. But one gets the sense that that was a peak. He hasn’t been a substantially above-average hitter like often in his career. Hard to gauge him though, however, due to the shoulder injury and surgery he had in 2011. 2012 could be the new normal for him. Or it could be a feel-good year fluke.

Of course at the moment the Red Sox are looking to replace James Loney, so it’s not like either of them wouldn’t be a massive improvement.

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.