ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are coming to grips with the possibility that catcher Mike Napoli won't be ready to come off the disabled list this week and that it could be well into September before he is back.Napoli has been on the DL since Aug. 11 with a strained left quad and is still not 100 percent. He is able to squat and catch, but he is not able to run at 100 percent. "I'm not ready for that next spurt," Napoli said. "I'm going to keep on doing things until I'm ready to run the bases." Geovany Soto has been doing most of the catching during Napoli's absence, with Luis Martinez getting the occasional start. The Rangers would like a third catcher when the rosters expand on Saturday, even if Napoli isn't ready. They could turn to Brandon Snyder, who served as the emergency catcher while he was in the big leagues earlier this season. "We'll take care of what we need to take care of," manager Ron Washington said. "We'll have that covered." The Rangers would like for Napoli to get at-bats in the Minor Leagues on a rehab assignment before he returns, but Triple-A Round Rock and Double-A Frisco end their regular seasons on Monday. Frisco is in the Texas League playoffs, as is Class A Myrtle Beach. "If there are no games for him to play, he'll just have to come here and strap it on," Washington said. "We're going to slow-pace him according to how him telling us how he feels. If he's not ready by Saturday, he's not ready by Saturday." Napoli said that the delay doesn't surprise him. "It was biting me pretty bad. I couldn't take it anymore," he said of the original injury.
Soto making an impression on Rangers
ARLINGTON -- Catcher Geovany Soto went into Tuesday's game hitting .324 with two doubles, one home run and eight RBIs in his last 11 games. The hot streak comes after he hit .152 with one home run and four RBIs in his first nine games with the Rangers after being acquired from the Cubs on July 30.Entering Tuesday's contest against the Rays, the Rangers were 13-5 in the 18 games that Soto has started, and their pitchers have a 3.75 ERA with him behind the plate. "He's looking more and more comfortable," manager Ron Washington said. "I can see more confidence, and he's starting to barrel the ball up [at the plate]. It's nice, and he's certainly working well with our pitchers. "We know he has the pedigree to swing the bat. The last couple of years, it hasn't happened, but sometimes you're in a place a long time and can get stale. Hopefully, we've got rid of the stale bread and now it's fresh. He plays with a lot of energy, and he's one heck of a receiver. He loves his job, and he loves working with his pitching staff -- the way he gets his pitchers through games and the way he receives the ball. He's always hyper, he's always upbeat." The one glaring negative is that he is 0-for-14 throwing out basestealers. Last year, with the Cubs, he threw out 26.1 percent, the sixth best out of 14 qualifying catchers in the National League.
Oswalt ready for anything
ARLINGTON -- Roy Oswalt knows there is a possibility the club could trade him before Friday's deadline. He was told three weeks ago that he has cleared waivers."I've never been through this before," Oswalt said. "I don't know what the process is or what to do. I don't have any say-so in the matter. If they trade me, I'd have to go. I'm just going to do what they tell me to do." The Rangers signed Oswalt at the end of May to reinforce their rotation, and he has since been moved to the bullpen. He has made it clear that he prefers to start but has accepted his role. He's not sure what his role with a new club would be, but he is not as unhappy as people have assumed he would be as a reliever. "A lot of people have written a lot of good opinions," he said. "I'm great. ... I'm good. I'm just waiting for them to call down there and the phone to ring." Oswalt said that when he signed there were no promises that he would be a starter, but he admits that the possibility of going to the bullpen was not something he completely expected. "If they [had said something] up front, it would be a different situation," he said. "It caught me by surprise, but that's water under the bridge." Manager Ron Washington said that Oswalt's role is of a long reliever, and he is not sure if he'll get another start this season. "I can't predict. Let's just wait and see," Washington said.
Loux named Texas League Pitcher of the Year
ARLINGTON -- Double-A Frisco's Barret Loux has been named the Pitcher of the Year of the Texas League. He received the honor after going 14-1 with a 3.50 ERA in 24 starts.Loux began the season by winning 10 straight games and was one of the starters in the Texas League All-Star Game. The sixth overall pick by Arizona in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, he was signed by the Rangers as a free agent after his deal with the D-backs fell through. Loux is the second Frisco pitcher to be named Texas League Pitcher of the Year, following Blake Beavan, who was honored in 2010. Loux also joined outfielder Engel Beltre, infielder Jurickson Profar and third baseman Mike Olt in the Texas League Postseason All-Star Game.
Joe Nathan's streak of 24 successful save opportunities is tied for the longest in the Majors this season. He is tied with Chris Perez of the Indians and Aroldis Chapman of the Reds. According to baseball-reference.com, Monday night marked the first time in club history that the Rangers have had three relievers throw a perfect inning with at least two strikeouts each. The Rangers are 6-1 against left-handed starters in August after going 1-6 against them in July. Reliever Alexi Ogando has pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings over five appearances since giving up a pair of home runs against the Yankees on Aug. 14. He has allowed three hits and struck out six, and manager Ron Washington said, "His slider is the key. If he can throw his slider over the plate and it's power, it's hard to differentiate from his fastball, and it puts him at his best."
Infielder Luis Hernandez has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple A Round Rock.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.