Rangers avoid arbitration with Mike Napoli at $9.4 million

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From Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors comes word that the Rangers avoided arbitration with catcher Mike Napoli on Saturday night by agreeing to a one-year, $9.4 million contract for 2012.

Napoli requested a salary of $11.5 million and was offered $8.3 million from the Texas front office when arbitration figures were filed last month. It took the two sides about three weeks to find a middle ground.

Napoli hit .320 with a 1.046 OPS, 30 homers and 75 RBI in 113 games last year for the Rangers. The 30-year-old is currently scheduled to become a free agent in the fall, along with D’Backs catcher Miguel Montero and Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina.

In-their-prime catchers never seem to hit the open market. The money could get wild.

Video: Cole Tucker’s first MLB hit is two-run homer

Cole Tucker
AP Photo
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Pirates prospect shortstop Cole Tucker stepped up for an injured Erik González on Saturday and wasted little time proving that he was ready to shoulder major-league responsibilities. After starting the game 0-for-2, Tucker pounced on Derek Holland‘s 2-2 sinker and sent it out to center field for a two-run shot in the fifth inning.

Following the tie-breaking blast, Tucker responded to cheers from the crowd with… perhaps a little more ceremony than the occasion required. He was the second of the Pirates’ prospects to record his first major-league hit during the game, as outfielder Bryan Reynolds also hit a single off of Holland in the fourth.

Jung Ho Kang struck out to end the inning, after which a rain delay was called. The Pirates currently lead the Giants 3-1.