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Red Sox ‘Doing Background Work’ On Napoli

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Free agent catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Free agent catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Red Sox may have three catchers on their roster right now, but that won’t stop them from pursuing another.

Despite signing veteran backstop David Ross over the weekend, the Red Sox have begun to do their homework on free agent catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

“The Red Sox are doing extensive background work on Mike Napoli, who could fit them as C or 1B or combo 1B-C-DH vs. lefties,” Olney tweeted Monday morning.

The Red Sox currently have Jarrod Saltalmacchia, Ryan Lavarnway and Ross to split time behind the plate, although either Saltalamacchia or Lavarnway could also see time at first (or end up on another team very shortly).

Roche: Ross A Solid Signing By Red Sox

As Olney noted, Napoli could take over first base for the Red Sox, although the majority of his experience is behind the plate. He has 539 games at catcher compared to just 133 at first, and the only season he played more games at first was in 2010 with the Angels when he played 70 games at first and 66 at catcher.

A seven-year veteran, Napoli hit just .227 in 201 with 24 home runs and 56 RBI for the Rangers in 2012. The 31-year-old is a career .259 hitter, but has had success at Fenway Park. Napoli has belted seven home runs and driven in 17 runs in just 19 games at Fenway.

Napoli made $9.4 million in 2012, and will be looking for a multi-year deal this winter.

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