Mike Napoli running on injured ankle

Updated: January 20, 2012, 11:46 AM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli did some straight-line running on his left ankle, and expects to be ready when pitchers and catchers report for spring training on Feb. 22.

Napoli suffered stretched ligaments in the ankle as he tried to get to third base after an errant throw to second in Game 6 of the World Series last fall. X-rays were negative.

"The ankle felt pretty good," Napoli said. "I ran with a sled to put a little weight behind it and it came out pretty good. I think it's just me trusting it again. I'm going to have to work through some pain and feel some things, but it's feeling good. I still have to get some more strength in it, but it's definitely on its way."

The Rangers' catcher said one of his biggest spring training priorities will be getting to know Yu Darvish and to better understand how he approaches getting hitters out.

"I'm really excited that they signed him," Napoli said. "Last year, I was trying to learn everybody on the Rangers staff in spring training. I'll do the same with him, learning what he likes to do in certain situations. That means a lot of talking about the game."

Napoli has seen film of Darvish and is impressed with his command.

"I'm going to have to see it myself," Napoli said. "I saw all the Rangers pitchers facing them and I still had to learn them catching them. It's different. From what I hear, he has seven pitches. We might end up condensing that. I don't have seven fingers, but we could figure something out."

As for his 2012 contract, Napoli believes a deal will get done with the club to avoid an arbitration hearing. Napoli and the club exchanged figures this week and there was a $3.2 million gap.

Napoli submitted a figure of $11.5 million and the Rangers countered with $8.3 million. The midpoint between those is $9.9 million and the clubs have until a hearing (sometime in the first three weeks of February) to get a deal done.

"We still have some time," Napoli said. "Of course, I want to get something done. The organization and the player don't want to go into a hearing and bash each other. You try to avoid that situation."

Richard Durrett covers the Texas Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.

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