Mike Napoli played a game-and-a-half on the gruesome-looking ankle injury he suffered during the World Series, but four months later manager Ron Washington describes him as being “60-70 percent” recovered as Rangers camp begins.
T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that Napoli’s ankle is strong enough that he’s been able to catch multiple bullpen sessions, but as Washington explained “he’s certainly being careful cutting on the basepaths.”
Napoli never had blazing speed to begin with, so as long as he’s able to catch and hit he should be able to play regularly early on. And if not the Rangers have Yorvit Torrealba as one of the majors’ most experienced and most expensive backups. In fact, prior to Napoli taking over as the everyday catcher in the playoffs Torrealba started 95 of 162 games behind the plate during the regular season.
Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start against the Dodgers after four-plus innings due to tightness in his right forearm, the team announced. He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow. Needless to say, though, a forearm injury is very concerning. In his four innings, Miller gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts, raising his ERA to 4.09.
Miller, 26, has had a nightmare of a time since joining the Diamondbacks in December 2015. Last year, he made 20 starts and posted a 6.15 ERA. He suffered a finger injury suffered from scraping his hand on the pitcher’s mound with his follow-through, and he was also demoted to Triple-A during the summer as well.
Pirates starter Ivan Nova has been outstanding in his first three starts of the 2017 season. He yielded only five earned runs in 20 innings for a tidy 2.25 ERA. But even more impressively, Nova didn’t issue a walk in any of those starts.
That changed on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees, but in a most peculiar way. Nova had struck out the side in the first inning, notched a 1-2-3 frame in the second, and got two quick ground outs to begin the third inning, bringing up Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery for his first major league at-bat. Montgomery never batted in the minor leagues, either, so Sunday’s AB against Nova was his first since his senior year of high school in 2011. Montgomery took the first two pitches for balls, then a called strike, a ball, and another called strike to even the count. Nova came in with his sixth consecutive fastball but it missed low, walking the Yankees’ pitcher for his first free pass of the 2017 season.
Nova got out of the inning without any further issue. He wound up going seven innings, giving up a lone run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA to an even 2.00.