Napoli wants to get back in lineup

Napoli wants to get back in lineup

SEATTLE -- Mike Napoli doesn't live in an isolation chamber. He's heard the report that he was placed on waivers by the Angels and claimed by the Red Sox, not that it particularly means that much. Players are waived and claimed every day with nothing happening. It's part of the system, giving clubs a way to gauge the interest in their athletes.

"It's something that's out of my control," Napoli said before Monday night's game at Safeco Field against the Mariners. "It's good to know that other teams are interested in you. It's good that I didn't go unclaimed."

What bothered Napoli more than this business was the fact that his name was not on manager Mike Scioscia's lineup card for the second straight day. He leads the club with 21 homers and has 60 RBIs, both career highs, while appearing in 113 of the team's 131 games as a catcher and first baseman.

"This is where my teammates are," Napoli said, stressing that his preference is to remain with the Angels. "I feel like I could play every day and put up good numbers. I think I can be an everyday player; I like to play."

Scioscia had Jeff Mathis behind the plate with Ervin Santana on the mound and Juan Rivera at first base, where Napoli has emerged as the primary replacement in the absence of Kendry Morales since May 30. Napoli has made 46 starts at first, the team winning 24, and 57 at catcher, the club winning 23.

"Catching's a rhythm thing," Napoli said. "I want to be a good catcher. I don't know why I give up a run more [than Mathis and Bobby Wilson] or there's more walks when I catch. If I knew that, I'd figure it out and do something about it. I want to control those [pitchers], get in the right position. I want that and I'm not shying away from it."

Moving from catcher to first and going long stretches without catching has complicated things somewhat, he said, but "I just want to play. That's the bottom line."

Napoli, Scioscia said, "has played virtually every day. You look at a guy with 500, 550 plate appearances, that's virtually every day." Napoli has made 413 plate appearances, and his 478 slugging percentage has him tied with Torii Hunter for the team lead (excluding Kendry Morales' .487). Napoli's on-base percentage (.317) is down, and Scioscia pointed to his slippage with runners in scoring position (.202) as a factor in slightly diminished overall production.