Mike Napoli not close to returning from disabled list

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Mike Napoli wasn’t ready to come off the disabled list when eligible earlier this week and it sounds like the Rangers catcher isn’t close to returning from a quadriceps injury.

In fact, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com the Rangers “are coming to grips with the possibility that Napoli won’t be ready to come off the disabled list this week and that it could be well into September before he is back.”

That certainly makes the decision to acquire Geovany Soto from the Cubs and cut Yorvit Torrealba loose a much more important pair of moves than the swap of backup catchers that it appeared to be at the time.

Soto has been thrust into the starting job while hitting just .247 with a .674 OPS in 21 games for the Rangers, which actually represents an improvement over his numbers for the Cubs.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.