SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Catcher Mike Napoli knew at some point he’d have to test his left ankle by sliding. And 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.
“It was fine,” said Napoli, the starting catcher in the Rangers’ 16-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday at Salt River Fields. this was the club’s first Cactus League victory. “You go through the whole off-season 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 his way back into 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. — Here are a few other extra notes:
- SS Elvis Andrus‘s hot spring continues. As he was 2-2 with a sacrifice fly. Does Andrus plan on hitting 700 on 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.”
- Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison pitched 2 clean innings, and needed just 22 pitches. I’ll update you later, with more on Harrsion on this blog.
- Leonys Martin came into 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 of which were 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.
- * Nelson Cruz hit a single down the right-field line that he said would have been a double in the regular season.
- * 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.
Thomas Brunt covers the Texas Rangers for fun on his own personal sports-blog. You can email him here: email@example.com, and remember, he is still taking a spiritual break from Twitter (lent), but you can still follow him there: @BHS_SPORTSGUY. And in the mean-time, you can just stay on this blog, and read all of his blog-posts on the Texas Rangers and Birdville Hawks sports teams (baseball right now).