AP sources: Napoli passes physical, set for 3rd Texas stint
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DALLAS — Mike Napoli has passed his physical, clearing the way for an $8.5 million, one-year deal and his third stint with the Texas Rangers.
Two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that the deal was done and that Napoli will be introduced Thursday. They spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday night because the Rangers had not announced the agreement.
While not saying who, the team announced a news conference at its Arizona spring training complex before workouts Thursday morning to announce a free-agent signing.
Napoli was seen in Surprise, Arizona, on Wednesday, when he was set to take a physical. He will get a $6 million salary this year, and the agreement includes an $11 million club option for 2018 with a $2.5 million buyout.
In his return to the Rangers, who have won the AL West title the past two seasons, Napoli figures to play first base and provide a big bat in the middle of the lineup. He previously played with Texas in 2011 and 2012, then spent the final two months of the 2015 season in Texas before going to Cleveland as a free agent.
Napoli hit a career-high 34 homers last season, when "Party at Napoli's" became a team rallying cry for the AL champions.
In his first season with the Rangers in 2011, Napoli hit .320 with 30 homers in 113 regular-season games and had 10 RBIs in the World Series. He was the starting catcher for the AL All-Star team in 2012, though he also played first base during that two-year span in Texas before going to the Red Sox as a free agent. He played some left field in 2015.
Texas already has room on its 40-man roster after putting first baseman Prince Fielder and reliever Jake Diekman on the 60-day disabled list this week.
Mitch Moreland won a Gold Glove as the Rangers' primary first baseman last season, but became a free agent and agreed to a $5.5 million, one-year deal with Boston. Fielder is signed through 2020 and remains on the roster even though he was forced to quit playing last summer after his second neck surgery.
Texas also lost big hitters Carlos Beltran and Ian Desmond as free agents.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.