From MLB.com’s Joey Nowak comes word that Rangers catcher Mike Napoli had to be scratched from Saturday’s Cactus League game against the White Sox due to a “nagging left groin issue.”
Rangers trainers called the decision “precautionary,” and Rangers manager Ron Washington assured reporters in camp that “there’s no concern.”
Napoli is a little behind the other everyday players at the Rangers’ spring training complex due to a high ankle sprain that he suffered in Game 6 of the World Series. But he’s mostly recovered from that, and this groin thing represents only a minor setback. The 30-year-old slugger should be fine for Opening Day.
Napoli hit .320/.414/.631 with 30 home runs and 75 RBI in 432 plate appearances last season.
The Athletics tied a league record on Saturday thanks to Stephen Piscotty, who launched a two-run, 396-foot home run off of the White Sox’ Dylan Covey to put the club on the board in the second inning. The homer may not have erased the five-run deficit the A’s were working against, but it extended their home run streak to 24 consecutive road games — tying the 1996 Orioles for the longest home run streak on the road in 22 years.
Following Piscotty’s blast, they eventually tied things up in the fifth inning with a sac fly from Dustin Fowler and a two-run double off the bat of Jed Lowrie. Daniel Mengden, meanwhile, was forced off the mound after just two innings; he expended 44 pitches and gave up five runs on four hits and two walks.
The Athletics are currently tied with the White Sox 5-5 in the fifth. They’ll attempt to get a leg up in the series finale — and earn the standalone league record for most consecutive road games with a home run — when right-hander Paul Blackburn and southpaw Carlos Rodon go head-to-head on Sunday at 2:10 PM ET.