Napoli will miss the rest of the 2018 season after suffering a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee. Napoli will undergo season-ending surgery in the near future and could wind up missing some time at the beginning of next season as well, since the timetable for this sort of injury is typically a 10-to-14 month process. The 36-year-old had been playing for Cleveland's Triple-A affiliate on a one-year deal. Over 124 games with the Rangers last year, Napoli slashed .193/.285/.428 with 29 home runs and 66 RBI.
Napoli (knee) was placed on the disabled list with Triple-A Columbus on Thursday. This comes as little surprise, as the veteran suffered a "significant" knee injury in Tuesday's contest. Napoli is going to be examined further Friday morning, so the nature of his injury should become clearer in a day or so.
Manager Terry Francona said that Napoli suffered a "significant knee injury" during Tuesday's game with Triple-A Columbus, Zack Meisel of The Athletic reports. Napoli was carted off the field after sustaining the injury. The club has yet to hear back on the results of his MRI, but it's clear the Indians are bracing for bad news. Expect an update on his status in the near future.
Indians manager Terry Francona said Sunday that Napoli has accepted an assignment to Triple-A Columbus to begin the season, Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com reports. With the combination of Yonder Alonso and Edwin Encarnacion more than capable of splitting duties at first base and designated hitter, Napoli was always facing an uphill battle to crack the Indians' Opening Day roster. After a dismal season with the Rangers in 2017, Napoli will head to the minors to prove he's healthy and still has plenty of pop in his bat. If a roster spot with the Indians fails to open up in the coming months, Napoli could request his release from the organization in pursuit of an opportunity elsewhere.
Napoli will be released and then re-signed to a minor-league deal by the Indians in the coming days, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. Napoli entered camp as a non-roster invitee and appears to be on the outside looking in when it comes to earning an Opening Day roster spot. The 36-year-old will likely head to Triple-A Columbus for the start of the 2018 season unless it becomes clear that another organization is willing to give him a major-league contract. All in all, it's expected that the Indians will officially release Napoli on Thursday and that he will re-sign with the club the following day.