Sources: Sox remain in touch with LaRoche

As the Boston Red Sox continue to work toward finalizing their agreement with Mike Napoli, they remain in contact with free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche, baseball sources told ESPN's Jim Bowden on Thursday.

The team's concern about Napoli's hip is the primary issue holding up the deal, sources told ESPNBoston.com over the weekend. Simply adding contract language that protects the Red Sox as a remedy in case the hip condition proves to be debilitating might not be enough to salvage the agreement, the sources said.

Such contract language was inserted in prior deals the Red Sox did with outfielder J.D. Drew and pitcher John Lackey.

The Red Sox and Napoli reached terms on a three-year, $39 million contract on Dec. 3. Napoli underwent what was expected to be a routine physical Dec. 10-11, with the expectation that a news conference announcing his signing would come the next day.

That didn't happen. Instead, reports surfaced that there were undisclosed issues with his physical.

More than three weeks later, it remains unclear whether the Red Sox and Napoli will be able to finalize the deal. Meanwhile, the Red Sox need to formulate a Plan B in case they walk away from the Napoli deal, which is where the 33-year-old LaRoche comes in.

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