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State of the Nation: Hits and misses

8/9/2013

Gordon Edes talks about Mike Napoli’s first season in Boston and updates when Clay Buchholz could return to the mound.

Edes says that Napoli, who has a one-year deal worth $5 million in salary with incentives for $8 million more, has cashed in on about $4.5 million of the bonuses so far.

"The likelihood is that he is going to come very close to the $13 million that his original contract would have called for."

Napoli and the Sox originally agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal, but settled on one year amid the Red Sox's concern over a hip condition uncovered in a physical.

While Napoli has remained healthy, Edes says a bigger concern for the Sox is Napoli's diminishing power output.

"Mike has 14 home runs. He hit 24 in fewer plate appearances last year for Texas. So he's on pace right now to finish with 20 home runs. ... They need a power right-handed bat to hit behind David Ortiz or David Ortiz might not see another fastball between now and Oct. 1."

As for Buchholz, Edes cautions that while he's got a ways to go, he could return in September.

"Buchholz has pitched 11 2/3 innings since May 22, he's been on the disabled list since June 8, we've had a number of stops and starts here, but this Tuesday in Houston he had maybe his most encouraging session off the bullpen. ... The good news is, when he finished his session, he told manager John Farrell he didn't have any discomfort."

"Optimistically I think the Red Sox are hoping that he gets back before the end of this month, but it could be Sept. 1 is still the date they're targeting."