Report: Napoli contract holdup is hip problem

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Report: Napoli contract holdup is hip problem

The Red Sox agreed with free agent first basemancatcher Mike Napoli nearly three weeks ago, but the two sides have yet to make it official.

We may now know the reason why.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that one of Napoli's hips drew a red flag in his physical, causing the current holdup.

Rosenthal writes:

Napoli, sources say, has a problem with one of his hips a problem that led the Seattle Mariners to back off their pursuit of him, as reported by Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio and confirmed by a source, and also may have concerned his previous team, the Texas Rangers.

The Red Sox, in the words of general manager Ben Cherington, are working through some issues in trying to finalize Napolis deal. As best as anyone can tell, that means that problems surfaced during Napolis physical, and the Red Sox are trying to rework his contract.

There are still other first base free agents available, including Nick Swisher and Adam LaRoche, should the Red Sox and Napoli call the negotiations off.

More to come as the story unfolds . . .

Malcolm Butler on Instagram: 'Nothing changed but the change'

Malcolm Butler on Instagram: 'Nothing changed but the change'

We haven't heard from cornerback Malcolm Butler as his future as a Patriot hangs in the balance after his visit with the New Orleans Saints last week.

Butler,  a restricted free agent who has yet to sign the $3.91 million tender offered by the Patriots, posted a photo Wednesday on Instagram with the cryptic message "Nothing changed but the change," which happens to be a lyric from a song titled "Could It Be" by rapper Nick Lyon. So, perhaps a change of teams is being referred to.

"Nothing changed but the change" #BLESSED

A post shared by Malcolm CB Butler (@mac_bz) on

More to come...

Goodell: NFL working on a way to reduce commercial breaks during games

Goodell: NFL working on a way to reduce commercial breaks during games

The NFL is acknowledging it has a time-management issue. Games are too long. Commercial are too frequent. And according to an email addressed to NFL fans, Roger Goodell is hoping to change that.

On Wednesday afternoon the commissioner explained the methods by which the league is hoping to improve the fan experience, most of which concern the presentation of games with as few interruptions as possible. 

"On the football side, there are a number of changes we are making to the mechanics and rules of the game to maintain excitement and also improve the consistency of our officiating," Goodell wrote. "For example, next week clubs will vote on a change to centralize replay reviews. Instead of a fixed sideline monitor, we will bring a tablet to the Referee who can review the play in consultation with our officiating headquarters in New York, which has the final decision. This should improve consistency and accuracy of decisions and help speed up the process.

"Regarding game timing, we're going to institute a play clock following the extra point when television does not take a break, and we're considering instituting a play clock after a touchdown. We're also going to standardize the starting of the clock after a runner goes out-of-bounds, and standardize halftime lengths in all games, so we return to the action as quickly as possible. Those are just a few of the elements we are working on to improve the pace of our game."

Goodell also mentioned that the NFL is working with its broadcast partners to reduce the frequency of commercial breaks during games. 

"For example," Goodell wrote, "we know how annoying it is when we come back from a commercial break, kick off, and then cut to a commercial again. I hate that too. Our goal is to eliminate it."

Goodell, team owners and executives will convene in Phoenix next week for the league's annual meetings where discussions about these potential changes could see meaningful progress.