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Mike Napoli has avascular necrosis of hip joints

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  January 22, 2013 04:20 PM

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Mike Napoli was officially introduced on a conference call moments ago. He agreed to a one-year deal for $5 million with an incentive package of $8 million more if he stays healthy based on plate appearances.

Ben Cherington and Napoli's agent, Brian Grieper, were also on the call.

The mystery of Napoli's hip condition was cleared up. He has avascular necrosis (AVN), a disease that causes bone deterioration due to an interruption of the blood supply.

The issue was discovered in Napoli's MRI in December. He does not have symptoms and is taking medication. He has been working out and expects to be ready for Opening Day. Grieper said the condition is in both hips.

"This has not affected him whatsoever," Grieper said. "Mike is asymptomatic. No soreness, no restrictions, no nothing."

According to Grieper, the AVN was not detected when Napoli had an MRI with the Rangers before last season. They have no idea how he contracted the condition.

Napoli is being treated by Dr. Joseph Lane in New York, a metabolic bone disease specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Cherington indicated that Napoli will benefit from playing first base instead of catching. Napoli said he was "shocked" to learn he had the disease but is trying to stay positive.

According to the Wikipedia article, AVN contributed to the end of Bo Jackson's career. But NFL star Brett Favre played with the condition.

Cherington indicated that Napoili should be ready for spring training and he will play primarily first base.

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