By Michael DelGiorno
SURPRISE, Ariz. — The Rangers gained a great bat today, but the biggest gain is an excited-to-be-back teammate of the 2011 American League Champion Rangers.
Mike Napoli was smiling through out introductory press conference today in Arizona, especially when talking about his new… well, semi new team. Napoli talked about the fun side of The Rangers
“It’s a fun place to be,” said Napoli. “We have a lot of fun with each other. I plan to come back here to continue that.”
Napoli rejoins three teammates, Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton from the 2011 Rangers who won the AL pennant. The season that was most remembered for the debacle in the World Series which the Cardinals won.
Just like the World Series debacle overshadows the Rangers 2011 campaign, Napoli’s numbers in the 2016 World Series over shadows his career season at the plate. Napoli had a .167 at plate in fall classic with one RBI and 11 strikeouts playing in all seven games for the Indians who lost to the Cubs in seven games. The season as a whole was great for Napoli setting career marks in HRs (34), hits (133), and RBI (101).
Rangers manager Jeff Banister is focused on the season as a whole.
“It’s necessary (signing Napoli) to really solidify what we feel is already a good offense,” Banister speaking of tactical side of signing Napoli. “From the human side, bring a guy back into our clubhouse/team that is not just a uniform its a person that lives and breathes winning.”
Napoli spoke about winning with Rangers.
“I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to be on a lot of winning ball clubs,” Napoli continued. “Coming back (to Texas) is something I saw as a chance to do that (win).”
Don’t forget Napoli was on fire for Rangers in 2011 World Series with a .350 batting average, 10 RBI, and two HRs.
Napoli will wear a new number as his old #25 is worn by Jonathan Lucroy. So Napoli will wear #5 for The Rangers inspired by his teammate in Boston Jonny Gomes.
All numbers aside Napoli returns to a city that embraces him. Napoli never had a boo fest playing for an opposing team in Arlington and the return of “NAP-O-LI! NAP-O-LI!” echoing through Globe Life Park come April will signal baseball is back in Texas.