Red Sox 1B Napoli has hip ailment but expects to play Opening Day

The SportsXchange

Boston Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli has the same hip condition that derailed the career of football and baseball standout Bo Jackson, but he expects to be ready to go by the start of the season.

Avascular necrosis, which destroys bone tissue, was discovered during a physical after he reached agreement with the Red Sox on a three-year, $39 million contract in the offseason. The deal was subsequently amended to one year at $5 million with incentives that could be worth $13 million.

Napoli said the ailment was discovered early and he's taking medication to keep it under control.

"Obviously, it was a pretty tough offseason," Napoli said, according to ESPN.com. "But we think we've got it figured out. We saw a bunch of doctors, got a bunch of opinions, and went from there. I got on medication. There's no reason I shouldn't be healthy and ready to go for Opening Day."

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington isn't concerned.

"There's no reason that Mike Napoli won't be our primary first baseman in 2013," Cherington said. "There's no reason that won't happen starting Opening Day.

"We're a long way ahead from Bo Jackson. Bo Jackson's circumstance was entirely different. From all the information we have, there's a good prognosis."

To make room for for Napoli on the roster, the Red Sox designated right-hander Chris Carpenter for assignment.
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