Monday, November 12, 2012
'Bunch of teams' eye Mike Napoli
By Richard Durrett
Free agent catcher Mike Napoli says he prefers to catch, but will play any position that gets him in the lineup regularly. He also still has interest in returning to the Texas Rangers.
Napoli, 31, said Monday that he's received interest from "a bunch of teams," though he didn't name them.
The latest team to join that fray is the Boston Red Sox, a source told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney. The Red Sox, like some other teams, might look at Napoli as someone who can play catcher, first base or be a designated hitter. Napoli said he's willing to play those spots if it means it gets him in the lineup.
"I just want to play," Napoli said. "I feel the most comfortable behind the plate because that's where most of my reps have been. Do I think I can be good at first base if I had reps and practiced it all the time? Yes. But it's not like I'm saying I have to be a catcher. I just want to be in the lineup and play. If it helps at catcher, I'll catch or at first base, I'll play there. But I like catching. I look at myself as catcher."
Napoli said he wasn't surprised the Rangers didn't make him a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer.
"It's a business and that's how they felt and I understand that," Napoli said.
That decision hasn't deterred Napoli's desire to play for manager Ron Washington and the Rangers, the team that traded for him prior to the 2011 season. Texas is still in need of a catcher and has expressed interest in Napoli.
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