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For Mike Napoli, a much different spring training

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  February 11, 2014 03:17 PM

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FORT MYER, Fla. — Let’s start with what you really want to know. Yes, Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli still has his beard, although it’s neatly styled compared to the wooly mammoth he ended last season with.

Most of his teammates shaved once the World Series ended, but Napoli decided to stick with his look, which is reminiscent of a Civil War general.

“I like it,” Napoli said on Tuesday after a busy first day at spring training. “I did trim it up so it’s not getting all crazy.”

Napoli took grounders at first base, joined a group for batting practice, then did a series of agility drills with strength and conditioning coach Pat Sandora before pulling up a chair outside the clubhouse and talking to a small group of reporters.

That Napoli was able to work so hard on the first day was far different than last season. The first baseman arrived in camp in 2013 only eight weeks after learning he had a degenerative hip condition.

The Red Sox were cautious with Napoli, holding him out of most workouts early in camp and limiting how much he ran. It wasn’t until the season started, when Napoli drove in 27 runs in April, that his health concerns were put aside.

“Last year I couldn’t run, I couldn’t really do a lot of impact stuff,” he said. “The condition I had, I didn’t even know I had. I had to take precautions. But there’s nothing holding me back this year.”

Check out the Globe on Tuesday for much more from Napoli, including why he wanted to stay in Boston and the fun he had reliving the World Series title.

A few notes:

• None of the players face any health-related restrictions, according to manager John Farrell. The only exception could be Shane Victorino, who is recovering from surgery on his right thumb in December.

• Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, appearing on WFAN in New York, said signing Stephen Drew is a possibility. “I think the answer is yes, under the right circumstances,” he said. “It’s going to have to be on terms that are mutually agreeable.”

• Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who recently announced he had cancer, had surgery on Monday and is recovering, according to Twitter messages posted by two of his children. Schilling has not said what type of cancer he has or what the prognosis is.

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