Interesting stuff from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal:
Could Mike Napoli’s deal with the Boston Red Sox be in jeopardy?
The Red Sox anticipated introducing Napoli at a news conference Tuesday, according to major-league sources, but did not go forward with the event.
Napoli agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract with the Red Sox on December 3, then underwent his required pre-singing physical examination in the past couple of days. The guess here is that it didn’t go very smoothly. Napoli missed time in 2011-2012 with quad and oblique strains, and experienced some shoulder problems during the early part of his tenure with the Angels. He also injured his left ankle in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington and Napoli’s agent Brian Grieper did not respond to Rosenthal’s requests for comment. You’d have to think there will be more information revealed in the near future.
UPDATE, 8:51 PM: A source clarified to Rosenthal that Napoli began taking his physical on Monday morning. So the deal should be announced by the end of this week if everything checks out fine.
Justin Verlander is approaching the tail end of a fantastic year with the Astros — arguably one of his best in the last decade — and on Saturday, he kicked off his last regular season start at Minute Maid Park with a strikeout, his 270th of the year. While that’s still a few shy of Max Scherzer‘s league-best mark of 290, it was a new personal record for Verlander, who had yet to beat the previous career record he set with 269 strikeouts in 2009.
Verlander’s moment arrived at the top of the first inning on a seven-pitch called strikeout against the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. Cole worked a 2-2 count, then fouled off a pair of 95-MPH fastballs before missing the seventh and final pitch at the top of the strike zone.
Jose Fernandez battled twice as long in the next at-bat, albeit with far more disastrous results. His 14-pitch duel against the Astros’ righty ended when he caught a fastball on his hand and was forced to come out of the game.
After expending a total of 27 pitches in the first inning, however, Verlander returned in the second to strike out the side, then logged another pair of strikeouts in the third. With six strikeouts through three innings, he boosted his season strikeout total to 275 — just a hair above fellow Houston righty Gerrit Cole (and all other AL pitchers), who previously led the team with 272 whiffs on the year.