Still no word from Sox on Napoli delay

December, 12, 2012
12/12/12
5:13
PM ET
Another day, and we’re no closer to an official explanation on what is holding up Mike Napoli's contract with the Boston Red Sox.

Red Sox media relations director Pam Kenn told ESPNBoston.com on Wednesday afternoon that she had no new information on the topic, which leaves us to speculate that something came up in his physical that concerned the team enough to delay the finalization of his contract.

Napoli last Monday came to terms on a three-year, $39 million deal with the Red Sox, who have not officially announced the agreement since it was pending a physical. Napoli was in town earlier this week and was still being examined Tuesday, according to a team source. The press conference to introduce Napoli was expected to be Tuesday, but the announcement never came.

Free-agent outfielder Shane Victorino -- who like Napoli last week agreed to a 3-year, $39 million deal -- was scheduled to undergo his physical with the Red Sox on Wednesday, according to a major league source.

It is still unclear when either contract will be finalized, but we’re still pursuing updates to that end. When we know it, you’ll know it.

It’s possible that Napoli and the Sox are negotiating language that would offer the team contractual protection in case a preexisting condition should impact the player’s ability to perform. The Sox included such language in deals with both outfielder J.D. Drew and pitcher John Lackey.

The Red Sox did not announce Drew’s signing of a five-year, $70 million deal until 52 days after agent Scott Boras said an agreement had been reached on Dec. 7, 2006. During that time, the sides negotiated language that voided either one, or both, of the last two years of the contract if Drew’s problematic right shoulder caused him to miss a certain number of games.

Napoli, 31, has been on the disabled list five times in his career, which does not include the severely sprained left ankle he sustained in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.

ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes and Joe McDonald contributed to this report.

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