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Saturday, July 20, 2013
Napoli: Hip not an issue at all

By Gordon Edes

BOSTON -- First baseman Mike Napoli said that he has not even had a conversation in months with Dr. Joseph Lane, the specialist at New York's Hospital for Special Surgery regarding his hip condition.

"Everything is fine," he said. "I haven't had any issues."

Napoli had been diagnosed with avascular necrosis, a degenerative hip condition, that caused the Sox to withdraw their original three-year, $39 million offer, signing him instead to a one-year $5 million contract with an additional $8 million in performance clauses.

"I have to get a follow-up MRI once every three months," he said. "I've got one coming up soon. Otherwise, I just take bone medication once a week."

The medication does have some side effects, he acknowledged. "I get achy sometimes," he said. "It's a flu-like achiness, but it only lasts a day."

The first baseman said he is not surprised that the hip has not surfaced as a problem.

"I never had any symptoms," he said, alluding to his prior experience with Texas and Anaheim. "I never felt anything. Once I was at the point they were saying I was going to be all right, I wasn't surprised at all."

Napoli sat Saturday, with Mike Carp playing first base, manager John Farrell saying he preferred another left-handed hitter against Hiroki Kuroda.

Napoli got off to a tremendous start for the Sox. After hitting a grand slam on May 1, he had 31 RBIs in his first 27 games, had 10 doubles and 5 home runs, and was slugging .602.

In 61 games since then, he has 10 doubles, 5 home runs and has slugged .365, a drop of 237 percentage points. He also has struck out 124 times this season, tied for Chris Carter of Houston for the league lead.

But any issues he is having at the plate, he said, are not related to his hip.

"I've always been streaky," he said. "If I knew why, I wouldn't do it. In April, I was feeling as good as I can feel, but I have ups and downs. Sometimes I feel really good, sometimes I don't.

"When I get hot, I get real hot. Maybe I'll do it the last two months into the playoffs. That would be awesome."