For Mike Napoli, an improbable path to an everyday impact

Weei.com—Boston—June 2, 2013

On Saturday night, Mike Napoli enjoyed another highlight reel moment in a season that has already produced a number of them. His game-breaking grand slam in an 11-1 Red Sox win over the Yankees was all the more interesting given that it took place not far from the watershed moment of his offseason.

The No. 4 train to Yankee Stadium is making all the local stops this weekend, and so the route to the Red Sox-Yankees series offers something of a reminder about the peril that Napoli's career faced just a few months ago. The 68th St. stop on the line, about six miles from Yankee Stadium, offers arrows to various local landmarks, among them Hospital for Special Surgery.

Napoli and his agent, Brian Grieper, jumped on a plane to New York and HSS after Grieper made a phone introduction to Dr. Joseph Lane. It was Lane who suggested that Napoli's degenerative hip condition -- avascular necrosis -- could be not only treated but potentially reversed, permitting the slugger to enjoy the continuation of a baseball career that had seemed in jeopardy for part of the offseason, once the condition was discovered.

Napoli has not checked in with Lane or the HSS on this visit to New York. No need. One third of a season into his Red Sox career, he remains symptom-free. The MRI he had at the end of spring training showed no change in his hip condition from how it looked in the offseason.

Napoli's hip will be re-examined via MRI in the not-too-distant future -- the 31-year-old suggested it could happen as soon as the next couple of weeks, perhaps next month.

Read the full story at weei.com.

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