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Angels turning to Mike Napoli as Kendry Morales' replacement

Jun 18, 2010, 3:49 PM EST

Speculation will continue to swirl about the Angels being in the market for a veteran first baseman thanks to Kendry Morales’ broken ankle, but for now Mike Scioscia is giving career-long catcher Mike Napoli a shot to grab hold of the position:

Mike’s going to get a lot of looks at first. We have some depth at the catching position which is going to let us use his versatility at first and contribute offensively. We’ll probably mix in some other guys, but we’ll try to keep his bat in the lineup.

Napoli hadn’t played a single inning at first base in the majors prior to Morales’ injury, but Jeff Mathis coming off the disabled list yesterday frees him up to move out from behind the plate.
Napoli admitted that moving to first base “felt a little strange” initially, but he’s by far the Angels’ best option offensively and did play there some in the minors. In fact, this could be Napoli’s best chance at everyday playing time, as Scioscia has often gone with Mathis’ glove over his bat when choosing his starting catcher.
Napoli has a lifetime .848 OPS, which is above average for big-league first basemen, and he’s averaged 30 homers per 500 at-bats for his career. Assuming he can be somewhat passable defensively, Napoli is very capable of giving the Angels the same type of production they’d get from a midseason pickup like Paul Konerko.

  1. ben s - Jun 18, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    Do you mean “somewhat passable defensively” because you said “somewhat passable offensively” which doesn’t really make sense given his offense.

  2. mgflolox - Jun 18, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    I think this is a good move. Napoli’s not a very good defensive catcher, but his combination of power and patience makes him a very effective offensive player. Moving from behind the plate might make him even better at the plate.

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