Mike Napoli’s hip problems cost him about $30 million after the Red Sox reworked his contract, but the good news is that he won’t be significantly behind the other hitters in camp.
Manager John Farrell told reporters that Napoli is scheduled to make his spring training debut Friday and will play first base rather than designated hitter.
Napoli ran the bases over the weekend and reported no problems, and he’s been taking batting practice for a while now. He’ll obviously be watched closely throughout camp, but so far so good.
The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.
Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.