Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Reaction: Mike Napoli tests ankle with slide
By Richard Durrett
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Catcher Mike Napoli knew at some point he'd have to test his left ankle by sliding. He got that chance in the first inning as David Murphy hit a ground ball with Napoli at first. The catcher slid into second base, hoping to break up the double play. The ground ball ended the inning, but Napoli hopped up, ran off the field and kept playing with no trouble.
Rangers catcher Mike Napoli talks about being able to handle a full season behind the plate, updates us on the status of his ankle injury and more.
"It was fine," said Napoli, the starting catcher in the Rangers' 16-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday at Salt River Fields. It was the club's first Cactus League victory. "You go through the whole offseason and you don't slide, it's good to do something I haven't done."
Napoli also had a good day at the plate, working the count against Joe Saunders in the first and then hitting a 2-2 fastball to center to drive in Elvis Andrus.
"I stayed back with two strikes and was able to get something," Napoli said. "I take that as a good sign."
Napoli hit .291 with two strikes last season, the second-best mark in the American League.
* Matt Harrison pitched two clean innings and needed just 22 pitches. We'll have more later on Harrison's outing and what he's working on.
* 2B Greg Miclat got a chance to show his speed on a high chopper hit over the first-base glove of Paul Goldschmidt. Miclat took off for second base and was in there easily for a double. He had 50 stolen bases with Baltimore's Double-A team last year, so he can certainly run.
* SS Elvis Andrus' hot spring continues. He was 2-for-2 with a sacrifice fly. Perhaps the sac fly was the most impressive at-bat, in that Andrus had runners on the corners and wanted to be sure to get the runner in from third. So he got a pitch he could drive and hit it to right field to get the run home. Andrus is now 5-for-7 this spring.
So does Andrus plan on hitting .700 to start the season?
"I'll take it," said Andrus, laughing. "I just feel good out there. I want to continue to get my at-bats, see some pitches, and swing at pitches I can hit."
He's certainly doing that.
* Leonys Martin came in the game for Julio Borbon in the sixth inning and hit a long home run to right-center field. Martin hit four homers in the minors last year, all in Double-A Frisco. He did not get the benefit of playing winter ball because he couldn't leave the country this winter. He'll likely play winter ball after the 2012 season.
Martin made a nice catch, running back toward the wall on a deep fly ball by Rusty Ryal in the seventh and reaching up to make the play. Washington believes Martin could use a year in the minors as he continues to adjust, but likes what he's seeing. The skipper believes Martin should soak in as much as he can during this spring training.
* Nelson Cruz hit a single down the right-field line that he said would have been a double in the regular season.
"Blame GP," said a smiling Cruz, referring to first base coach Gary Pettis.
The coaching staff has cautioned Cruz and Adrian Beltre to take it easy on their legs early in spring. Cruz, who was the DH on Tuesday, did that by holding at first base.
* Conor Jackson, vying for a spot on the bench as a corner outfield/first baseman, hit a home run in the second inning to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead.
* Engel Beltre, who came in to the game after the starters departed, had some trouble with the high sky and wind in right field. Twice he had to make some big adjustments after running under the ball, but both time he made the catch (once by diving). He also showed his speed on hitting a double. He sprinted around first and had there not been a runner in front of him, might have had a shot at a triple.