Slugger Mike Napoli has undergone a procedure to repair his anterior cruciate ligament, per Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). That has been anticipated since he was diagnosed with a torn ACL and meniscus last month.
The injury occurred while Napoli was playing for the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate, which he joined after failing to find an MLB opportunity all spring. Napoli’s anticipated recovery time has been pegged at ten to fourteen months, which is not an insubstantial span for a 36-year-old player.
All things considered, it wouldn’t be surprising if Napoli decided that this was an opportune moment to hang up his spikes. But he’s not ready to declare his intentions just yet, per Cafardo, who reports that Napoli hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll attempt a comeback next season.
It’s certainly understandable that the dozen-year MLB veteran prefers to take his time making a decision. After all, he has driven 63 balls out of the yard over the past two seasons and still rates as a quality defender at first.
To be sure, that output has come with loads of strikeouts and, in 2017, an unsatisfactory .285 on-base percentage. And it’s only fair to note Napoli had managed only one hit (albeit with seven walks) in his 31 Triple-A plate appearances to open the present season, though of course that’s not much of a sample.
Still, it wouldn’t have been at all surprising had he ended up turning in some useful plate appearances in the majors had it not been for the injury. And it’s still plausible, perhaps, that he could do so in the future, should he decide to make another go of it.