Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels cleared up the situation with Mike Napoli on Wednesday afternoon, saying two MRIs confirmed that the first baseman and designated hitter has a “stress reaction” in his lower right leg.
Napoli said from the clubhouse that he has told team management he can play. His only limitation is dealing with the pain.
The injury was the result of overuse, not acute trauma, Daniels said.
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“I’ve always played with stuff going on my whole career,” said Napoli, who added that he first began feeling a problem with the lower leg in Atlanta last week. “I told [manager Jeff Banister] I can play. I’m not the person who just going to say, ‘I’m done.’ ”
Napoli took batting practice before Wednesday’s game against Seattle, the third of a four-game series. (Adrian Beltre took BP, as well.)
Napoli has been out of the lineup since Sunday with what had been described as merely the September bang-ups. He said Tuesday that he was ready to play, but was held out another game. Team officials remained elusive, waiting, as it turned out, for the results and confirmation of the second MRI.
Daniels said uncertainty about Napoli’s condition was a primary reason for calling up Willie Calhoun on Tuesday. The general manager said no other roster moves were planned considering Napoli’s status.
Banister said he could see Napoli in the lineup at first base sometime in the next 18 games. But it depends on how Napoli is feeling daily.
Daniels and Napoli acknowledged that there is a risk the injury could worsen by continuing to play.
However, Napoli said, “that’s the risk I’m willing to take.”