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Monday, December 3, 2012
Sox official: Napoli provides power, makeup

By Gordon Edes

NASHVILLE -- What does the signing of Mike Napoli mean to the Red Sox?

“Power,’’ one Sox official said Monday morning after word broke that the club had reached agreement with the free agent on a three-year, $39 million deal.

“And good makeup. See, that’s the big thing. We need that. Napoli, (Jonny) Gomes. They give us that.’’

Napoli’s signing probably will not be announced until later in the week -- he still has to pass a physical, which is scheduled for Wednesday -- so it’s likely that general manager Ben Cherington will not have much to say about his acquisition until the end of the week. So questions regarding how the Sox plan to use Napoli will probably have to wait.

The expectation is that he will be used primarily at first base, although he has expressed a preference to continue to catch and the Sox could make a move with incumbent Jarrod Saltalamacchia. But Saltalamacchia sounded confident Saturday that he is very much a part of the team’s plans moving forward, and a baseball source here said Monday that he has gotten no indication that the Sox intend to move Saltalamacchia.

“It is my expectation that he is going to be a right-handed power bat in the middle of their lineup,’’ Napoli’s agent, Brian Grieper, said Monday. “As far as position, that is up to the Red Sox.’’