Texas Rangers

Napoli, Odor call first Rangers walk under new rule ‘weird’

History, albeit the incredibly trivial variety, was made Wednesday night when Mike Napoli became the first Texas Rangers player to receive an intentional walk under the new MLB rule that eliminates pitchers having to throw four straight balls.

The Rangers were leading 5-3 in the fifth inning and had runners at second and third with two outs. First base was open as Napoli, a right-handed hitter who specializes in tormenting left-handed pitchers, came to the plate to face Los Angeles Angels lefty Jose Alvarez.

Just like that, Angels manager Mike Scioscia let plate umpire Stu Scheurwater know that he wanted to walk Napoli to get to the lefty-hitting Rougned Odor.

It was different.

“Weeeeird,” Napoli said. “I was digging my hole and I could kind of hear the umpire behind me talking. He was like, ‘Four? Alright, four. Go ahead.’ Usually I take my shin guard off, but I didn’t know what to do.”

Odor said that he going through his normal routine before an at-bat when, next thing he knew, he was called to the plate.

“I was in the dugout and was walking to the on-deck circle,” Odor said, “and Napoli was already on his way to first base.”

The move worked for the Angels, as Odor struck out on a 3-2 pitch. He said didn’t feel rushed during the at-bat, but he will need to get used to the rule designed to help speed up pace of play.

“It was a little weird,” Odor said.