Lackey helped lure Napoli to Boston

December, 3, 2012
12/03/12
5:41
PM ET
NASHVILLE -- Ever since Mike Napoli became a offseason priority for the Boston Red Sox, a few players decided to reach out to the veteran catcher/first baseman in an attempt to recruit him to Boston.

It worked.

The Red Sox and Napoli have agreed on a three-year deal worth $39 million. Red Sox pitcher John Lackey and Napoli were teammates in Anaheim with the Angels, so it was Lackey who led the recruiting process.

“I’ve been working on him and I had a couple of guys text him,” Lackey told ESPNBoston.com. “We’ve been recruiting him the last few weeks, so I’m glad things worked out and we got him. He’s going to be a great addition to the club.”

Lackey and Napoli played together for four seasons and the veteran pitcher made sure to push the fact that there’s a good group of players in the Red Sox clubhouse and Napoli’s presence would only help solidify the type of character the team is trying to build.

“We talked about the guys on the team and I told him how great of a group of guys we have on the team,” Lackey said. “I had [Jon] Lester and [Dustin Pedroia] texting him and kind of recruiting him too. Those guys were getting in his ear, trying to convince him to come to Boston. Ben and those guys did a great job and they obviously put together an offer that he liked. It’s going to be fun.

“He’s fun. He’s a guy who likes to have a good time, but when it’s time to go he’s ready to compete. He’s not going to be scared about anything. He’ll get right in there and he’ll get after it. It’ll be a good spot for him. He’s performed well in big games, and in Boston every game is a big game. I think he’ll fit in nicely. He loves hitting at Fenway, I know that.”

Napoli's numbers back that up.

“He’s a guy who likes to hit the ball out of the park and Fenway’s a pretty good place to hit it out of the park,” Lackey said. “Naps a good dude, man.”

Lester chimed in Monday afternoon on Twitter.

“Heard right before I got in the deer stand we signed Napoli. Awesome addition to our team!”

As far as Lackey’s offseason and continued rehab from Tommy John surgery that forced the right-hander to miss the entire 2012 season, he said he’s healthy and ready to go for spring training.

“I can’t wait to get this going,” he said. “I’m pretty much full go and I’m doing just regular-season workouts. I’m pretty much ready to go. After missing a whole year, I’m ready to get back in there, for sure.”

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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