Texas Rangers

Mike Napoli returns after resting tight back

Mike Napoli was back in the Rangers’ lineup Wednesday after missing the previous two games with a tight back.

Napoli, 35, said the hard turf in Toronto only made the back spasms worse. He first started having the issue during some cold and wet nights in Boston before Toronto.

“I was locked up pretty bad. It was just spazzing up, and I probably could have gutted through it, but I’ve been playing with it for a little bit and being on the turf in Toronto didn’t really help,” Napoli said. “So I just took a couple days to kind of get it settled down, and I’m feeling better.”

Napoli was feeling it in Boston and by the last few innings in Toronto it got really tight.

“I thought it was just smart to take a couple days to let it calm down and loosen up again, so that’s what we did,” said Napoli, who has raised his average 34 points from .160 to .194 since May 10. “I’ve been feeling good. I feel like I’ve been putting good at-bats together, doing things that can help us win and being able to drive the ball. I hit today, hit late last night [in the cage] during the game.”

Napoli isn’t concerned about where he hits in the lineup with Adrian Beltre back.

“We’ve all been waiting for him to get back. It doesn’t matter where I hit in the lineup. I’m going to have the same approach, do anything to help us win,” he said. “We’re a group that it doesn't matter where skip puts us in the lineup we’re going out there and trying to just execute a plan and try to help us win.”

Plus, Napoli added, Beltre’s bat is better for everyone.

“We’re that much deeper now. We have a lineup to where a pitcher can’t take anything off 1 through 9,” he said. “He’s going to have to throw stressful pitches and that can wear on a starter.” 

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST

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