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Napoli's injury catches Rangers short behind plate

The SportsXchange

The Texas Rangers have a catching quandary.

On Saturday, Mike Napoli headed to the disabled list with a strained quadriceps that has bothered him off and on for weeks. With very little experienced catching in the minors, the club has turned to Luis Martinez as the backup.

Martinez was up for a week in July, but was not given an at-bat. He hit .211 with a .614 OPS in 59 at-bats with San Diego last year. The Rangers' other catcher in the minors with a dash of big-league time, Dusty Brown, recently underwent surgery.

It puts a lot of weight on the shoulders of Geovany Soto, who was acquired July 31 from the Chicago Cubs. Soto, 29, has hit only .192 since joining the Rangers, but has quickly gained favor with the pitching staff.

The Rangers are hopeful Napoli can be back by Aug. 26, the first day he is eligible. It would give him five weeks to try to find the offensive game that has deserted him since he hit a career high .320 with 30 home runs in 2011.

Napoli is hitting .223 in 2012 and it's clear the leg was bothering him at the plate lately. He was hitless in his final 14 at-bats before going to the DL.

"It was really bothering me," he said. "We thought the best thing was to get it right and be ready for the last part of the season. That's what I'm hoping for."
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