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Spring training roundup: Napoli joins Indians, others wait

February 28, 2018

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2016, file photo, Cleveland Indians' Mike Napoli bats against the Boston Red Sox during Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series,in Cleveland. Napoli is getting another swing with the Indians. The free agent slugger has agreed to a minor league contract with the team, pending the completion of a physical. Napoli spent 2016 with the Indians and had a major role in getting the club to the World Series.(AP Photo/David Dermer, File)

The Cleveland Indians gave Mike Napoli a much more familiar uniform.

The Indians reunited with Napoli on Tuesday, agreeing on a minor league contract with the popular slugger whose powerful swing and clubhouse leadership were key to Cleveland reaching the 2016 World Series.

Napoli had been on the roster to play in Bradenton, Florida, with a group of free agents still looking for jobs. Tyler Clippard, wearing a black jersey with a white players’ union logo, pitched two hitless innings in a 2-0 win over amateurs from the East Japan Railway Company.

“It’s a situation where a player that is universally respected in our organization, he shouldn’t be in that camp,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.

Napoli’s deal is contingent upon him passing a physical at the Indians’ complex in Goodyear, Arizona. He hit .193 with 29 home runs and 66 RBIs for Texas last season.

The Indians don’t have a roster spot for the 36-year-old Napoli, but Francona wanted to give him an opportunity to showcase himself.

Francona spoke to designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and first baseman Yonder Alonso and told them Napoli wasn’t going to challenge for their jobs.

“If we end up helping him out, then we’ve done a good thing,” Francona said. “If anybody deserves it, it’s Nap. He did as much as anybody to help us get to the point we could play in a World Series.”

Clippard finished last season with Houston.

“We know that my year last year was a bad year, but at the end of the day, how bad was it? And it wasn’t as bad as some that got significant contracts,” the 33-year-old righty said.

Alejandro De Aza, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Nolan Reimold were among those in the starting lineup. Neil Walker is taking part, too.

The camp is similar to the one run by the union at Homestead, Florida, following the end of the 1994-95 players’ strike. Dave Gallagher attended then as a player and signed with Philadelphia. Now he is a coach under manager Bo Porter.

“They start to lose hope,” Gallagher said. “And it’s a little bit humiliating.”

Top free agents have skipped the camp to continue working out on their own, a group that includes pitchers Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb and third baseman Mike Moustakas.

AROUND THE GRAPEFRUIT AND CACTUS LEAGUES:

ORIOLES 2, RAYS 1

Tampa Bay starter Nathan Eovaldi pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings and struck out two in his first game since August 2016, when he had his second Tommy John surgery. Preston Palmiero, son of former Orioles star Rafael Palmiero, was a defensive replacement.

TIGERS 11, PHILLIES 6

Derek Norris went 3 for 3 with his second home run for Detroit. Rhys Hoskins hit his second homer for Philadelphia.

MARLINS 2, NATIONALS 2, 9 INNINGS

Miami starter Dan Straily struck out three in two scoreless innings. Gio Gonzalez gave up a hit over two innings and Tommy Milone fanned three over two fast innings for Washington. Bryce Harper doubled for the only extra-base hit.

PIRATES 3, BRAVES 3, 9 INNINGS

Mike Foltynewicz pitched two hitless innings for Atlanta and defensive whiz Johan Camargo homered. Jose Osuna had two hits for Pittsburgh.

CARDINALS 6, RED SOX (SS) 1

Shortstop Yairo Munoz got three hits for St. Louis. Brock Holt had two hits for a Boston split squad.

RED SOX (SS) 3, TWINS 2

Sam Travis hit a tiebreaking double in the ninth for Boston’s other split squad. Byron Buxton had two hits for the Twins, and starter Jose Berrios threw a scoreless inning.

YANKEES 9, BLUE JAYS 8

Rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar hit his second spring homer, Danny Espinosa also connected and Austin Romine doubled twice for New York. Former Yankees catcher Russell Martin homered for Toronto and Marco Estrada worked a clean inning.

ASTROS 8, METS 2

Jake Marisnick doubled and drove in two runs and Brad Peacock had a solid outing in his two-inning start for Houston. Mets starter Steven Matz gave up five runs in the second inning. Tim Tebow struck out and went 0 for 2 as a Mets DH.

GIANTS 14, DIAMONDBACKS 12

Brandon Belt got three hits and Evan Longoria drew two walks for San Francisco. Starter Jeff Samardzija gave up two runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings. Arizona’s Archie Bradley allowed four runs on four hits and three walks in 1 1/3 innings.

CUBS 6, WHITE SOX 5

Jon Lester made his spring debut and worked 1 2/3 innings, striking out three allowing a run on one hit. J.A. Happ hit the Cubs’ second leadoff home run of the spring. Hector Santiago threw three innings of clean relief, striking out four. Jose Abreu doubled and Matt Davidson hit his second home run.

BREWERS 6, REDS 3

Adam Duvall hit a two-run homer for Cincinnati. Eric Thames got his first hit of the spring for Milwaukee and Eric Sogard and Nick Franklin each drove in three runs.

INDIANS 16, A’S 8

Corey Kluber struck out three and gave up a run over two innings in his spring debut. Jason Kipnis homered twice and drove in four runs and newly signed Yonder Alonso doubled for Cleveland. Oakland reliever Yusmeiro Petit gave up a home run in his inning of relief.

ROYALS 14, MARINERS (SS) 9

Kansas City starter Wily Peralta gave up four earned runs and four hits in one inning. Whit Merrifield tripled and doubled. Andrew Moore, vying for a spot in the Seattle rotation, had a rough spring debut, giving up six runs on seven hits in 1 1/3 innings.

RANGERS 4, DODGERS 4, 9 INNINGS

Rougned Odor doubled, walked and stole his second base of the spring. Joey Gallo doubled in a run and scored for Texas. Kenta Maeda debuted with two solid innings for Los Angeles.

ANGELS 5, ROCKIES 2

Shohei Ohtani went 0 for 3 in his second game as the DH for Los Angeles. Matt Shoemaker worked 2 1/3 innings, scattering three hits and a run. Colorado starter Jon Gray allowed three hits and two runs over two innings.

PADRES 11, MARINERS (SS) 6

Eric Hosmer made his debut in a Padres uniform and had a hit in three at-bats. Clayton Richard gave up two runs on two hits in the start. Austin Hedges hit his second home run of the spring. Seattle’s James Paxton made his spring debut and allowed a hit and a walk over two innings. Jean Segura homered and drove in three runs with two hits.

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