FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mike Napoli had been waiting for the results of an MRI he underwent Thursday on his hip. He finally got it -- and the news was good.
"All good news,'' reported Napoli Saturday morning. "I'm excited to get out there and start doing stuff everyone else is doing.''
Napoli suffers from avascular necrosis, a condition that results in degeneration of the hip. That caused the Red Sox to withdraw their three-year, 39 million offer made in December and led to a new, one-year 5 million deal with incentives for playing time.
Napoli had been held out of workouts the last few days, but the MRI showed no further damage in the hips since the original diagnosis. Napoli isn't cleared for all activity, but he can do more things, like taking ground balls on his knees while continuing to run on the treadmill.
"He had an MRI, which was planned,'' said GM Ben Cherington. "We had a conversation with the doctor in New York, a consultation with him. He'll be cleared to ramp up his activities. We'll spend some time today working out what that program looks like. But he's doing well.''
"We found out that nothings changed, which is a good thing, said Napoli.The medicine is working and the doctors were happy with the MRI. Im going to be able to move forward, doing a lot more things. Im going to start taking ground balls on my knees and progress from there. Im going to start increasing my running program on the treadmill and go from there.
"Talking to the doctors they were telling me that it was going to get better with this medicine. But to actually take the MRIs and get the results, its good news. It stayed the same. It didn't get worse and that's what what we wanted. Its only been six weeks of the medication. Doctors said it will get better over time but thats probably going to take a year or maybe more for it to get better on this medication. Its doing what we wanted, its staying the same so Ill keep doing what Im doing.''
Cherington added that it's his understanding, too, that the medicine can actually improve the condition and not just slow the degeneration.
"It can still get better,'' said Cherington, who noted that Napoli will get periodic MRI's over the course of the season to monitor the condition. "The fact that things look pretty stable is a good sign for him and a good sign for his prognosis.''
It will be a little while before Napoli is fully cleared to do all activities.
"Like Ive said before,'' vowed Napoli, "Ill be ready for Opening Day but were going to take it slow and take everything that I have to do now.
Napoli felt a bit left out when he was held out of the first full squad workout on Friday.
"It was kind of tough,'' admitted Napoli. "You want to be doing what everyone else was doing, but I know it's a process and I just had to get the result to move forward. I'm not going to be out there running the bases and stuff like that. I come in and do treadmill work and go from there.
They let me know that Im going to be all right and its going to get better. Its nice to hear and get the results of the MRI so Im excited, and Im excited to get out there and start doing things.
"He's in a good shape,'' said Cherington. "He's hitting, he's really doing everything on the hip and running and things like that. I think the overall physical condition should allow him to move along at a good pace.But until we put it on the calendar, it's hard to say (when he'll be cleared to do everything).''
Cherington said the Sox aren't counting on Napoli to be in the lineup later this week when exhibition games start.
"But he's doing well,'' said Cherington, "and I would think he would be able to move along fairly quickly at this point.''