NEW YORK — Mike Napoli agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal with the Red Sox in December that fell apart when he was discovered to have a degenerative condition in his hips.
After weeks of negotiations, Napoli agreed to a one-year deal worth $5 million with the possibility of earning $8 million in incentives if he stayed on the active roster all season.
Not only did he accomplish that, Napoli said Friday he feels better physically than he has in several weeks.
The hip condition, controlled by medication and therapy, never was much of an issue. Napoli was affected far more by plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
“Some days I feel really good. But some days I have some problems running. I have to be careful with how I flex my foot,” Napoli said. “But I feel comfortable at the plate. That’s the biggest thing.”
Napoli reached base in all five plate appearances in Friday’s 12-8 victory over the Yankees, with a single, double, two walks, and the tying grand slam in the seventh inning. Over his last 11 games he is 16 for 39 (.410) with eight extra-base hits and 13 RBIs.
On Thursday, Napoli singled off Mariano Rivera with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. That led to the Red Sox tying the game en route to a 9-8 victory in 10 innings.
Manager John Farrell has been giving Napoli frequent days off, believing that will get the most out of him.
“If you look at his career path, this is the most at-bats he’s had in any year,” Farrell said. “I think just the fact we’re in the second half of the season, I think the rest has probably kept him fresh and kept his swing compact more so than when he gets in a tired spell.
“He’s a little bit more fresh right now and that has shown up. We’ll continue to spell him when needed. We’ve got the off days that we can build in as well. Hopefully every position player should have their legs underneath them as we go through these final 20 games.”
Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was out of the lineup because of a sore right foot. He aggravated the injury when he stole second base in the 10th inning Thursday. Ellsbury then scored the go-ahead run on a single by Shane Victorino.
The injury originally occurred Aug. 28 when Ellsbury fouled a ball off his foot.
“Throughout the night, increased pain, some throbbing. Was there again today,” Farrell said. “So he’s off his feet. Will get treatment throughout the course of the game tonight. Hopefully be back in the lineup [on Saturday].
Ellsbury missed Tuesday’s game against Detroit with a sore left hand.
Lining up Buchholz
Clay Buchholz was in Boston on Friday to spend time with his wife and newborn daughter. He will rejoin the Red Sox here Saturday and throw in the bullpen on Sunday.
That would set him up to start Tuesday against Tampa Bay. But the Red Sox aren’t quite ready to announce that.
“No change in the rotation as of yet,” Farrell said. “We’re just making sure we go through every step physically before we make any adjustments to the rotation going forward.”
Buchholz threw 71 pitches over 3⅔ innings for Triple A Pawtucket on Thursday night, giving up two runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out five.
Buchholz, who has been on the disabled list since June 9 with a shoulder injury, spoke to Farrell on Friday and said he felt fine physically.
Buchholz has thrown 7⅔ innings over three minor league games on his rehabilitation assignment.
“Felt like with each inning that he’s pitched, the increased command and action to his secondary pitches is gaining that consistency,” Farrell said. “He’s in a pretty good place from a mental standpoint in addition to being physically sound.”
Buchholz faced Tampa Bay April 14 and threw eight shutout innings.
Ryan Dempster, the scheduled started for Tuesday, has not yet been told of any change in his schedule or role. The veteran righthander could move to the bullpen once Buchholz returns.
Catcher near return
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who has missed four games with a sore lower back, did some hitting and throwing before the game and looks ready to return to the lineup Saturday.
“It’s a real possibility,” Farrell said.
David Ross started Friday and had an RBI single in his first at-bat. He finished 2 for 5.
NESN has named more replacements for Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy.
Dan Petry, the former major league pitcher, will work with Don Orsillo on Sunday. Derek Lowe will be in the booth for the three games against Tampa Bay that start on Tuesday.
Lowe, who retired earlier this season, lives in Florida.
Dennis Eckersley will handle the games from Sept. 13-22. The two-game series in Colorado Sept. 24-25 will mark the NESN debut of Mike Timlin, another member of the 2004 championship team. Timlin now lives in Colorado.
Remy will miss the remainder of the season following the arrest of his son for murder. He has not called a game since Aug. 15. Jared W. Remy was arrested that night and charged with murder and other crimes in the death of his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel.
Pedro Martinez made a surprise visit to the Red Sox clubhouse had hugs and handshakes for all the players he encountered. Martinez is now a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington and spent time this season working with prospects . . . The Yankees signed former Red Sox All-Star Kevin Youkilis to a one-year, $12 million deal in December. For that, they got 28 games and a .219 batting average. Youkilis has been on the disabled list since June 14 with a back injury that required surgery. When he recently tried taking some swings, Youkilis suffered a setback and has essentially been ruled out for the season. Youkilis, who turns 35 in March, has hit .232 in the last two seasons . . . The Yankees called up righthander Matt Daley, giving them a 32-man roster that includes 12 relievers.