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.
Dustin Pedroia is out of the lineup again tonight after leaving the Red Sox game Thursday night with knee pain in the fifth inning.
Josh Rutledge will start at second base as the Sox open a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.
The weather and sloppy field conditions were a factor in John Farrell deciding to get Pedroia out of the game Thursday and conditions haven’t improved significantly Friday.
Pedroia (.288, two homers, 21 RBI) had surgery on that knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked the plunking war between the Orioles and Red Sox.
The full lineups:
Jean Segura SS
Guillermo Heredia CF
Robinson Canó 2B
Nelson Cruz DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Danny Valencia 1B
Taylor Motter LF
Ben Gamel RF
Mike Zunino C
Yovanni Gallardo RHP
Mookie Betts RF
Andrew Benintendi LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Josh Rutledge 2B
Jackie Bradley Jr CF
Christian Vazquez C
Deven Marrero 3B
Eduardo Rodriguez LHP
BOSTON — Red Sox left-hander David Price is set to make his season debut in a holiday matinee Monday on the road in Chicago against the White Sox.
Price, 31, starting the second season of a $217 million, seven-year contract, has been recovering from a strained pitching elbow since spring training.
“Excited, just to be back here,” he said Thursday. “There’s not a better feeling. You can’t replicate it anywhere else.”
Price allowed nine runs — six earned — and 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings in a pair of less-than-impressive injury rehabilitation starts at Triple-A Pawtucket. He struck out eight and walked two.
“A lot of pitches, in a short amount of time. I think that is more of a test to being healthy as opposed to going out there and throwing five or six [innings] in 90 pitches,” he said. “To do what I did in both of my rehab outings, I don’t think you can do that if you’re not healthy.”
The Red Sox (24-21) have won four in a row heading into their weekend series against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.
“He’s eager to get back to us and physically he feels great,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “His return to us will give us a definite boost but that’s not to de-emphasize he needs to go out and perform.”
Farrell hopes Price’s return has a trickle-down impact.
“It’s not based solely on the name on the back of his jersey,” Farrell said. “Hopefully it allows us to even out some of the performances within the rotation.”
© 2017 by The Associated Press.