Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Texas Rangers [Print without images]

Monday, July 9, 2012
Mike Napoli ready to catch Justin Verlander

By Richard Durrett

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Whenever Justin Verlander's name is brought up, Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli is quick to replay his first at-bat against last year's Cy Young Award winner.

"My first major league at-bat was against him in Detroit," Napoli said Monday, with some national reporters around that hadn't heard the story. "I hit a homer. It was a curveball with two strikes."

Napoli smiled as he talked about it and admitted that he still has the ball.

On Tuesday night, Napoli will be behind the plate when Verlander makes the first pitch of the All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium.

"That's pretty awesome," Napoli said. "He’s a Cy Young winner and one of the best pitchers in the game. It should be a cool experience. Hopefully that can give me some insight on how to hit against him."