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Red Sox not concerned with Napoli's health

Red Sox not concerned with Napoli's health

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Red Sox thought they had a three-year agreement with free agent Mike Napoli last offseason. But concern over a degenerative hip condition led to a new deal for just one season.

That was prudent. But now Napoli is a free agent again, and the Red Sox have to try to sign him once more after he hit 23 homers with 92 RBIs and an .842 OPS in 139 games.

Napoli underwent an MRI on the hip recently. And while general manager Ben Cherington wouldn't reveal the results, he said there was nothing that gave him pause about bringing the first baseman/designated hitter back.

"Out of respect for him, I don't think it's our position to share information on his medical file," Cherington said Tuesday at the General Managers Meetings. "But we've had a very good relationship with Mike on a number of levels, including his health, since we originally agreed to terms last winter. Mike and his agent, [Brian Grieper], have always been fully transparent about what's going on, and we appreciate that.

"The most important thing, I think, is that he played a full year and had no issues. We don't have any reason to have any more concern than we did last winter. As I've said before, we absolutely have interest in having him back and we'll keep talking to him."

Napoli, in turn, has made it clear his preference is to remain in Boston.

In other medical news, Cherington said he has no concerns about starter Clay Buchholz, who missed more than two months of the 2013 season with shoulder problems, or second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who needed surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right thumb.

"There were no medical limitations [on Buchholz] at the end of the year," Cherington said. "Just a question of stamina and strength. He just needs a good, normal offseason. We fully expect him to do that and be ready for Spring Training. Normal in the sense that any pitcher, not just on the Red Sox, has a program all for himself. Clay will be on his own program, but we expect him to have a good, normal offseason.

"Nobody will know [about Pedroia] until they go in and see what's inside the thumb, but we're confident that unless something's really surprising, which we don't expect, he'll be ready for Spring Training. I know he expects to be."

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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