Rangers catcher Mike Napoli has taken a big step forward in his ongoing recovery from the high ankle sprain that he suffered in World Series Game 6.
According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, the 30-year-old slugger caught three innings Thursday in an instrasquad game and “felt good.”
Napoli had been limited to drills and light jogging since arriving in Rangers camp due to lingering pain in his left ankle. But he seems to be moving rapidly past that discomfort, and is expected to be fully healthy by the start of the regular season.
Napoli batted .320/.414/.631 with 30 home runs and 75 RBI in 113 games last year for Texas. He told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Wednesday night that he intends to test the free agent market in the fall.
A number of teams are making calls about Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson these days, as is the general nature of the offseason. Per Jason Kinander of FanSided, there have been some preliminary trade discussions between the Dodgers and the White Sox, though a formal deal doesn’t appear imminent and any potential competition from other clubs is still unknown.
Pederson, 26, has enjoyed quite a run with the Dodgers over the last five years. A perennial 25-home run hitter (when healthy), he slashed .248/.321/.522 with 56 RBI, an .843 OPS, and 2.7 fWAR through 443 plate appearances during the 2018 regular season. Following the Dodgers’ unsuccessful postseason campaign, Pederson agreed to a one-year, $5 million contract in advance of the arbitration deadline, and is currently slated to remain under team control through the 2020 season.
Despite his relative affordability and clear value to the club, shedding Pederson from their roster would allow the Dodgers to pursue the kind of right-handed hitters they need to balance out their 2019 lineup. It’s not certain what the White Sox are prepared to give up, but Kinander mentions right-hander Carson Fulmer, lefty reliever Aaron Bummer, and recent draft pick/third baseman Bryce Bush as a few possibilities.