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Mike Napoli guides with planning, instinct

For Mike Napoli, preparation and instincts are the keys to success as the starting catcher for the Texas Rangers.

"I feel just the ability to go about the game plan and what my pitchers' best stuff is and feel for a game ... I feel good about it," Napoli said. "I'm just confident, I guess, calling the game and getting the best out of my pitcher."

Usually when Napoli starts at catcher the Rangers win. That was the case through 57 starts last season and three starts so far in 2012. He is expected to be the starter tonight when the Rangers begin a nine-game road trip with the first of three at Minnesota.

The Rangers were 42-15 in Napoli's 2011 starts and are 2-1 this season with him behind the plate. That includes Napoli navigating Yu Darvish through his major league debut and Neftali Feliz in his first major league start.

"It helps having (pitching coach Mike) Maddux," Napoli said. "He studies the hitters a lot, just game planning. Going off that, and really knowing my pitchers. I talk to these guys all the time about what they like to do, just trying to get the best out of them."

Certainly, Napoli got the best out of Feliz on Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners. According to MLB.com, Feliz threw his fastball nearly half the time while the other half of his 108 pitches were nearly an even split between his slider and change-up. The result was seven scoreless innings in a 1-0 Rangers win.

Matt Harrison is the Rangers' scheduled starter tonight against the Minnesota Twins. Yorvit Torrealba caught Harrison against the Chicago White Sox, and the tandem worked through six shutout innings. However, Harrison recalled the occasions he has worked with Napoli in spring training and last season.

"He does a great job behind the plate," Harrison said. "He's really good at reading the hitters. It's kind of like he's in their head and thinking along with them on what they are looking for. You put a lot of trust in him and you know he's going to put down the right finger."

Napoli and Harrison look to get a good read on a Twins lineup that won their last two games with a total of 16 runs scored against the Angels at Target Field.