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Napoli settles in at first base for Halos

Napoli settles in at first base for Halos

CHICAGO -- The team of Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson behind the plate could make a regular of Mike Napoli at first base for the Angels, assuming the slugger continues to handle the glove respectably.

"Mike's going to get a lot of looks at first," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We have some depth at the catching position which is going to let us use his versatility at first and contribute offensively. We'll probably mix in some other guys, but we'll try to keep his bat in the lineup."

Napoli's power potential is especially critical with the loss of first baseman Kendry Morales, the club's most productive offensive weapon, for the season after surgery on his lower left leg.

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Napoli made one polished dig of a throw in the dirt behind Pineiro in the first inning of Wednesday's 5-1 win against the Brewers at Angel Stadium and celebrated with a solo homer to right-center in the bottom half of the inning. It was No. 11 for Napoli, matching Morales for the club lead.

"I'm feeling more comfortable the more I play down there," Napoli said. "It had been a long time -- about four years -- since I played first, so it felt a little strange at first. My first throw [an error on a toss to Scott Kazmir covering first] was just a matter of not being used to making that play. The more reps I get, the better I feel."

In semi-regular playing time, Napoli has unloaded 20 homers each of the past two seasons. His ratio of one career homer per 5.7 games played is the best among active catchers, ahead of Jorge Posada's one per 6.1 games played.

"No doubt he has the potential for 30 homers with 550, 600 plate appearances," Scioscia said.

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