Rangers “optimistic” about locking up Mike Napoli this winter

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Rangers catcher Mike Napoli is currently scheduled to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2012 season. But the Texas front office is hoping that he won’t even get a whiff of the open market.

According to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, the Rangers are going to attempt to sign Napoli to a multi-year extension later this winter and are “optimistic” that something will get done.

Napoli posted a fantastic .320/.414/.631 slash line across 113 games this past year for the American League-champion Rangers. His value has never been higher and the Rangers will likely have to spend big in order to lock him up long-term, but the fact that they’re not in the running for any of the elite free agents on the market this winter (beyond perhaps C.J. Wilson) might serve as an indication that the club has cash at the ready for the 30-year-old slugger.

Napoli earned a $5.8 million salary in 2011 as a third-year arbitration-eligible player.

Another young fan was struck by a foul ball, this time at Guaranteed Rate Field

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ESPN reports via the Associated Press that a young boy was struck by a line drive foul ball but was not seriously injured during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Royals. The boy and a woman were escorted by a first aid crew to the concourse area and the boy was later eating ice cream in a luxury suite.

A woman was struck in the face by a foul ball also on the first base side at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, but she didn’t request medical assistance.

Last week, a young fan at Yankee Stadium was hit by a line drive foul ball, which motivated several teams to commit to extending protective netting at their ballparks. The Yankees, strangely, were not among them. Nor were the White Sox.

Diamondbacks clinch NL Wild Card

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Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.

The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.

The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.

The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.