Why Mike Napoli will start at C vs. Angels


PEORIA, Ariz. -- The pecking order at catcher is Yorvit Torrealba and Matt Treanor. Mike Napoli is a bonus, but he'll get his first start behind the plate Wednesday as the Texas Rangers play the Los Angeles Angels.

Why Napoli? It has nothing to do with the stiff back that made Torrealba a late scratch Tuesday.

"It's the Anaheim Angels," Washington said. "Tomorrow is Napoli's day."

Napoli, a 17th-round pick by the Angels in 2000, came up huge for the Angels last season after Kendry Morales broke his leg in late May celebrating a game-winning home run at the plate. Napoli moved from catcher to first base and played well. The Angels rewarded him by trading him to Toronto. Four days later, the Blue Jays shipped him to the Rangers.

And now Washington apparently wants the Angels to see what they'll be missing, not unlike last season when Vladimir Guerrero terrorized his old team.

"Sentimental reasons," Washington said.

Napoli has had a strong start to camp with three hits in six at-bats, including a two-run home run on Monday. He had Tuesday off.