ARLINGTON, Texas -- Mike Napoli had to make a quick trip to the mound early in Tuesday night’s game, which tends to happen with a new pitcher throws more pitches than his catcher has bare fingers, and there are cultural and language barriers to boot.
Napoli, the proud owner of a blue “YU IS MY HOMEBOY” T-shirt, has developed a friendship with the Japanese phenom. The working relationship between pitcher and catcher is still a work in progress.
Yet Yu Darvish’s dominance of the Yankees is proof that plenty of progress has been made.
“We tried our best in spring training to get on the same page, but we’re still learning each other,” Napoli said. “Just being back there and working with each other is only going to help. I feel like I’m starting to get an idea of how he goes about it, and I think it can only get better.”
Darvish didn’t shake off Napoli much while mixing his massive arsenal of pitches during his 8 1/3 shutout innings against the Yankees. He worked quickly and effectively, following the lead of Napoli, who has caught three of Darvish’s four starts.
“He’s beginning to believe,” manager Ron Washington said. “He’s beginning to trust his catchers. His catchers are beginning to trust him. They’re starting to work in sync.”