Mike Napoli originally agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal with the Red Sox, but it was adjusted to a one-year contract after he was diagnosed with a hip condition called avascular necrosis. Doctors caught it early and Napoli hasn’t displayed any symptoms, but the Red Sox are still being extra careful.
According to Alex Speier of WEEI.com, Napoli was sent for an MRI this week which showed that his hip condition hasn’t worsened. He’ll now be permitted to increase activity, including taking grounders from his knees and treadmill work. Napoli concedes that he’s “not a full go,” but he’s not feeling any pain and expects to be ready for Opening Day.
Napoli, 31, batted .227/.343/.469 with 24 home runs, 56 RBI and an .812 OPS in 108 games with the Rangers last season. If all goes according to plan, he’ll function as Boston’s starting first baseman in 2013.
As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.
The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.
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As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”
The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense:
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge went yard twice in Sunday afternoon’s 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, bringing his season total up to 48. That leaves him just one home run shy of tying the single-season rookie record set by Mark McGwire with the Athletics in 1987.
After Sunday’s performance, Judge is hitting .281/.416/.610 with 48 home runs, 105 RBI, and 122 runs scored in 651 plate appearances. He has the AL Rookie of the Year Award on lock and is neck-and-neck with the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Chris Sale of the Red Sox, and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the AL MVP Award race.