How much will Mike Napoli play catcher?
To get Napoli in the lineup on a fairly regular basis, he’ll probably have to be a capable catcher. That’s a challenge for a guy who also plays first base and is getting to know a new pitching staff.
“It’s pretty easy for me to try to learn a guy, the questions to ask and be in the right spots,” Napoli said. “It’s not that tough. As far as going to play other positions, you’d like to play one and be comfortable there, but if I can play, I’ll do anything.”
Napoli at least didn’t have to start from scratch. He’s familiar with the returning Rangers pitchers after getting in the batter’s box against them many times while playing for the Angels.
“You kind of know what they have, but it’s different catching a guy versus hitting against them,” Napoli said. “But I’m going out there right now and trying to learn them as best as I can.”
Napoli, who will also DH, has worked more at catcher than first base during the spring because it’s a more difficult defensive position. The coaching staff wanted to make sure he got some time behind the plate with every pitcher on the staff.
It’s a crowded situation at catcher. Yorvit Torrealba and Matt Treanor are more prototypical, pitcher-friendly catchers than Napoli, but manager Ron Washington intends for Napoli to be part of the rotation behind the plate.
“He will catch some games,” Washington said. “I don’t know how much. He’ll certainly be in the rotation, but I really don’t know how much.”
That likely depends on how much Napoli’s bat justifies a defensive drop-off. Napoli has worked this spring to try to make sure the defensive drop-off isn’t too drastic.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Catcher A.J. Pierzynski joins GAC to share how the Rangers are continuing to "fight the fight" through a tough stretch of games.
Play Podcast The Spurs had a championship in their hands, but melted down late in Game 6. Fitzsimmons & Durrett flash back to one of the most gut-wrenching moments in DFW sports history, Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, and compare it to San Antonio's meltdown.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss the magnitude of Monday's win against Oakland, how he plans on using Jurickson Profar and how to handle a struggling ballclub.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Rangers' six-game losing streak and how to get out of their slump.
Play Podcast General manager Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Rangers' offensive struggles, injuries and the plan for Jurickson Profar once Ian Kinsler returns from the disabled list.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss the Rangers and a potential game-changing trade target for Jon Daniels and company.
Play Podcast Neal Cotts joins Galloway & Company to discuss pitching for the Rangers.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, the mistakes the team has been making and possible trades.