FORT MYERS, Fla. — Mike Napoli  returned to the Red Sox  clubhouse at JetBlue Park Saturday morning from an MRI on his hips and pronounced himself ready to begin getting ready for the 2013 season.
“I found out that nothing’s changed, which is a good thing,” Napoli told reporters Saturday morning before Day 2 of full-squad workouts. “Medicine is working and the doctors were happy with the MRI. I’m going to be able to move forward, doing a lot more things. I’m going to start taking ground balls on my knees and progress from there. I’m going to start increasing my running program on the treadmill and go from there.”
The 31-year-old Napoli has a diagnosed condition called avascular necrosis. He has been on medication for several weeks, and doctors have told him that because it was caught early, it’s fully treatable and manageable. That, along with Thursday’s MRIs have provided a great deal of comfort as he looks to prepare for his first season in Boston.
“A lot,” Napoli said. “Talking to the doctors they were telling me that it was going to get better with this medicine. But to actually take the MRIs and get the results, it’s good news.
“It’s stayed the same, it didn’t get worse and that’s what we wanted. It’s only been six weeks of the medication. Doctors said it will get better over time but that’s probably going to take a year or maybe more for it to get better on this medication. It’s doing what we wanted, it’s staying the same so I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.
“As of now, I’m not a full, full go but I’m able to progress and do a lot more stuff. Like I’ve said before, I’ll be ready for opening day but we’re going to take it slow and take everything that I have to do now.”
Napoli and the Red Sox had originally agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract before it was shortened to a one-year, $6 million deal with incentives. Now, he can get on with the business of preparing to be Boston’s regular first baseman, which means staying after workouts and working with infield coach Brian Butterfield.
“I’m going to stay after and take ground balls with Butterfield and start working. I’m excited and it’s a fun time,” Napoli said. “It’s kind of tough, you want to be able to do what everyone else is doing. I know it’s a process. I just had to get the results of the MRI to move forward. So, all good news and I’m excited to get out there and start doing stuff with everyone else.
“I’m not going to be out there running the bases and stuff like that. I come in and do treadmill work and go from there. I’ve never had pain whatsoever. It came up on the MRI and they call that “Stage 0″ so I never pain from this condition and we’re going to try and keep it that way.”
More than anything, Napoli has a piece of mind that he didn’t have before the MRI on Thursday.
“I knew this was going to come,” he said. “They let me know that I’m going to be all right and it’s going to get better. It’s nice to hear and get the results of the MRI so I’m excited and I’m excited to get out there and start doing things.”