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Thursday, March 29, 2012
Notes: Mike Napoli to catch two straight days

By Richard Durrett

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- For the second time this spring, Mike Napoli is scheduled to catch consecutive games. He's in the lineup tonight against the San Francisco Giants and should be in the lineup again Friday to catch Yu Darvish's start in Scottsdale, Ariz., vs. the Colorado Rockies.

"I feel good, and it's nice to get some games in like that," Napoli said. "The ankle has felt fine. I'm getting ready for the season."

Napoli came into spring curious to see how the left ankle, which was badly sprained in Game 6 of the World Series, would respond. Slowly, he's been able to test it with bullpens, slides, running the bases and just all-around game activity. He hasn't had any setbacks and the Rangers have been careful to monitor him.

He caught consecutive games last week and looks like he'll get another shot this week before the regular season opens a week from Friday. Napoli is hitting .308 with two homers and four RBIs this spring.

Other notes:

* RHP Mark Lowe struggled in a minor league inning Thursday. He gave up three runs on three hits with a walk and no strikeouts in one inning of work (22 pitches) vs. Triple-A minor leaguers from the Mariners.

* The Rangers released four minor leaguers: OF Jared Bolden, INF Andres James, INF Renny Osuna, RHP Doug Salinas (signed as a minor-league free agent over the offseason).

* Texas' .360 winning percentage this spring is the second-lowest in the Cactus League and fifth-lowest in the majors. It's worth nothing that the Rangers have posted below .500 marks in spring training the past two seasons and made it to the World Series.