In the moment it seemed impossible that Mike Napoli would stay in the game to run the bases, let alone catch the final six (or as it turned out eight) innings, but his ugly looking ankle injury turned out to be less severe than it appeared.
X-rays taken immediately after the game were negative and Napoli told reporters that he expects to play in Game 7 tonight:
There’s one game left. We’ll get out there tomorrow and lay it on the line and hopefully the best things happen for us. I’m going to do whatever I can to stay in. We’re going to do some things tomorrow and try to get me back out there again.
“Some things” probably include a pain-killer or two, although it depends on what Napoli’s ankle looks like when he shows up at the ballpark this afternoon. Adrenaline no doubt helped him play through the pain last night, so it might actually be more difficult for him tonight.
Not only did Napoli go 2-for-3 with an RBI single in Game 6, he made a great play to pick off Matt Holliday from third base in the sixth inning. He’s just the third player in baseball history with 10 or more RBIs in one World Series and will enter Game 7 as the presumed MVP pick if the Rangers win.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.