PROVIDENCE While reports circulated Thursday that the Red Sox had finalized their agreement with free agent first baseman Mike Napoli, reportedly for one year instead of the three years that was initially reported, general manager Ben Cherington would not go that far.No, but were making some progress, Cherington said Thursday evening before a town hall-style event. Its fair to say weve made some progress the last day or so. Hopefully, well have something more formal to say soon but not tonight.There was no set timetable in place for such an announcement, he said.Not exactly but hopefully soon, Cherington said. But it wont be in the next couple of days or anything like that.News of the Napoli deal was first reported Dec. 3 during the winter meetings in Nashville, but negotiations hit a snag when a hip issue was found during Napolis physical. Despite the delay, Cherington said he did not lose confidence the deal would get done.I dont know that doubtful was a word that I thought about, he said. Weve kept talking the entire time and when theres dialogue theres always a chance to get somewhere. It means that theres an interest on both sides and when theres an interest on both sides theres a chance and youre hopeful. So hopefully we are getting somewhere.Cherington said he did not think Napoli would require another physical before the deal is official, but theres still some things we just got to work through.Manager John Farrell also expressed his confidence the deal would get done.I know theres some progress being made with Mike and hopefully that continues to head in that direction and weve got more of a look of who were going to report to camp with in Fort Myers here within in three weeks, Farrell said.In such protracted negotiations, there exists the possibility for talks to become contentious and the relationship to break down. Cherington said he did not think that was the case in this situation.I think its good, he said. I think therell be a time to talk about that more but we tried to and have a consistent dialogue throughout the winter and a lot of conversations. But I think therell be a chance to talk about that more, hopefully soon.
LOS ANGELES - Jon Lester pitched seven sharp innings, Addison Russell hit a tiebreaking homer and the Chicago Cubs moved one win from their first World Series trip in 71 years by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 on Thursday.
The Cubs grabbed a 3-2 lead in the NL Championship Series and will have two chances to wrap up that elusive pennant back home at Wrigley Field.
LOS ANGELES - After striking out in his first two at-bats, Anthony Rizzo was seeking a slump buster. He found one in teammate Matt Szczur's bat.
Using the borrowed lumber, Rizzo homered and ended a postseason skid with three RBIs. The rest of the Chicago Cubs' hitters broke out equally as big in routing the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-2 on Wednesday to even the N.L. Championship Series at 2-all.