The Red Sox agreed to terms with Mike Napoli two days before they did the same with Shane Victorino.
But Thursday, as the Sox introduced Victorino at a news conference at Fenway, Napoli was still in limbo, his deal reportedly held up by some medical issues that came to light after he took his physical.
Napoli had agreed to a three-year, 39 million deal on Dec. 3 and underwent a physical days later in Boston. In the past, Napoli has dealt with calf and shoulder issues, both of which the Red Sox knew existed.
But according to an industry source, the Sox saw something in the physical that was previously unknown to them. Several reports have speculated that there was an issue with Napoli's hip.
In the past -- most notably with J.D. Drew and John Lackey -- the Red Sox have inserted language into a contract that has given them protection against a specific physical ailment. It may be that the Sox are negotiating such language with Napoli's agent, Brian Grieper.
"It's a situation where we're working through some things with regard to another player," said general manager Ben Cherington, who spoke in the abstract, without referencing Napoli by name. "As has been our policy, until every sort of aspect of an agreement is resolved, we're not in a position to comment on it publicly or certainly not announce anything.
"We're still at a point where we're working through some issues. That's all I can say at this point."
Asked to confirm that the holdup with Napoli was physical in nature, Cherington sidestepped the issue.
"I don't want to comment specifically," he said. "Every time we sign a free agent to a guaranteed deal, there's a number of things you have to come to agreement on get resolved. Some of it's contract language, some of it's terms and money etc. . . . and then there's a physical with all these agreements. And until all these things are done and resolved and agreed upon, we just can't comment on it."
Cherington would not discuss whether there's been any progress in resolving whatever issue has concerned the Sox.
"All I can tell you is we continue to talk and there's consistent dialogue," he said. "We'll continue to do that and work out any issues that are outstanding. I can't classify it any more than that."