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December 22. 2012 12:46AM

Hip problem holding up Mike Napoli-to-Red Sox deal

A hip problem is keeping the Boston Red Sox from finalizing a deal on a three-year, $39 million contract with Mike Napoli, according to a report.

Red Sox general manger Ben Cherington told Fox Sports that the team is "working through some issues" with Napoli. An agreement was reached 18 days ago, but the Red Sox could be trying to rework the deal in light of the news about the hip, which likely was discovered during a physical.

The hip was enough of a concern that Seattle decided not to pursue Napoli during the offseason, MLB Network Radio reported. The Texas Rangers also might have backed off re-signing the catcher-first baseman for a similar reason.

Napoli, 31, hit .227 with 24 homers and 52 RBIs for the Rangers in 108 games last season.


Liriano, Pirates agree
Pitcher Francisco Liriano and the Pittsburgh Pirates have reached agreement on a two-year, $14 million contract with the Pirates, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Liriano, 29, split time between the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox last season. He was traded to the White Sox in late July for two minor leaguers.

The left-hander finished the 2012 season with a combined 6-12 record and a 5.34 ERA with 87 walks and 167 strikeouts in 34 games and 156 2/3 innings.

Liriano has a career record of 53-54 with an 4.42 ERA in seven major-league seasons, all with the Twins before going to the ChiSox in 2012.

Twins sign Harden
The Twins signed right-hander Rich Harden on Friday to a minor-league contract with an invitation to their major-league camp in spring training.

Harden, 31, will attempt a comeback from rotator cuff surgery on his throwing shoulder last Jan. 31 that sidelined him for the 2012 season.

In other Twins news, left-hander Scott Diamond had surgery Tuesday to remove a bone chip from his left elbow but expects to be recovered in time for spring training.

McGehee to Japan
Free-agent third baseman Casey McGehee, whose numbers have declined since his productive 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, has agreed to a one-year, $1.3 million deal to play for the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese baseball league, according to the Japanese site Sankei.

Rakuten also signed Andruw Jones recently.

Braves' Bullock suspended
Billy Bullock, a right-handed pitcher in the Atlanta Braves' minor-league system, received a 50-game suspension without pay after a second violation of the drug prevention and treatment program for a "drug of abuse," the commissioner's office announced Friday.


Cubs get Schierholtz
The Chicago Cubs announced Friday they have finalized a one-year, $2.25 million deal with outfielder Nate Schierholtz.

Schierholtz, 28, batted .257 with six home runs for the Giants and Phillies in 2012.

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Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

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