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Mike Napoli to the DL with ACL and meniscus tear

The veteran slugger, 1-for-24 through seven minor league games in Columbus, was hurt chasing a foul ball

MLB: Spring Training-Cleveland Indians at Milwaukee Brewers Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Napoli will head to the DL after tearing the ACL and meniscus in his right knee on Tuesday with Triple-A Columbus, requiring season-ending surgery. Napoli was chasing a foul ball when he stumbled over the bullpen pitcher’s mound and had to be helped off the field.

The veteran slugger signed a minor league contract with the Indians during spring training, but did not make the roster. Manager Terry Francona appreciated his leadership in the clubhouse for up-and-coming prospects like Bobby Bradley, and also saw it as an opportunity for Napoli to try and earn a contract offer from another ball club.

Napoli started out this season in Columbus, where he was 1-for-24 through seven minor league games before suffering Tuesday’s knee injury. The 36-year-old first baseman’s future could very much be in doubt as he recovers from this latest setback. Francona speculated earlier this week that, should this represent the end of his playing career, it could open a new chapter for Napoli, one in which he’ll continue to make an impact.