January 11, 2012

Napoli still dealing with soreness from left ankle sprain

The Texas Rangers catcher expects to be ready for spring training.

ARLINGTON -- Mike Napoli said that he has gotten over the sting of the Rangers' narrow World Series miss, though it took him awhile to turn the page.

But the sting in his left ankle, severely sprained in Game 6, still lingers.

Napoli said that he plans to give running another shot next week after the ankle felt unstable during the initial attempt to run on it 10 days ago. With six weeks left until pitchers and catchers report for spring training, Napoli expects to be at 100 percent by late February.

"I've been rehabbing every day," Napoli said during the first stop of the annual Rangers Winter Caravan. "It's definitely getting stronger. With everything that happened, we kind of lost track of it for a week. It kind of set me back by doing that, but I went into a walking boot and took care of it."

Dr. Keith Meister examined the ankle in early November after an MRI was performed. Napoli said that the injury, which would have put him on the disabled list had it occurred during the regular season, did not require surgery.

Eyes on Darvish

Ron Washington has watched game film on right-hander Yu Darvish and also met the Japanese star last month when he visited Dallas-Fort Worth.

Both the video scouting and the live chat left the Rangers manager impressed.

Washington understands that general manager Jon Daniels and the front-office staff still have work to do to sign Darvish ahead of the 4 p.m. deadline Wednesday, but he believes Darvish can succeed.

"His abilities are just as good as the abilities we have here," Washington said. "The whole key, if we end up signing him, is for him just to be Yu Darvish. We're not expecting him to put us on his shoulder. We're not expecting him to do anything special."

Colby Lewis pitched against Darvish in Japan, winning their only head-to-head matchup. Lewis said that Darvish already possesses the key element for big-league success.

"If you're able to throw strikes, pound the strike zone and get guys out, it doesn't matter what league you play in," Lewis said. "He has overpowering stuff, especially in that league. That was the big thing that stood out to me, his fastball command."

On hold

The Rangers' attempt to negotiate a long-term contract with Yu Darvish has put many transactions on hold, including a possible extension for Colby Lewis.

The right-hander said that the Rangers and his agent, Alan Nero, have had a few discussions about a new deal, but Lewis' sense is that the Darvish talks are a culprit for a lack of movement.

Lewis, who can be a free agent after the season, is a bargain this season at a base salary of $3.25 million. Neither the extension nor the possibility of starting on Opening Day is much of a concern.

"I want to go out and throw 200 innings and stay healthy all year," he said. "Then, everything will pan out."


Left-hander Derek Holland started playing catch in mid-December and plans to throw off a mound next week for the first time this off-season. Lewis plans to begin throwing soon and will get on a mound a few weeks before spring training.

Randy Ready, who was San Diego's hitting coach the past two seasons, has been hired as hitting coordinator as the Rangers all but finalized their minor-league coaching and development staffs. Front-office man Jake Krug has been promoted to director of player development.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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