CLEVELAND -- Mike Napoli is running without pain, but not at full speed, and not around the bases. And those are the final hurdles he'll have to jump before he is ready to come off the disabled list.Napoli has been sidelined with a strained left quad since Aug. 11, although the injury has bothered him for most of the season. He tested the muscle with some "straight ahead" running on Friday at Progressive Field. "It felt good, but it wasn't full running," Napoli said. "I didn't feel anything. It was a good day, so we didn't want to push it." Napoli also "tracked pitches" in the bullpen -- standing at the plate while pitchers throw as a way to work on regaining his timing.
The Rangers want Napoli to go on a rehab assignment, but it won't be before Triple-A Round Rock and Double-A Frisco finish their regular seasons on Monday. Napoli could play for Frisco in the Texas League playoffs, but first he must be able to run the bases at full speed without any issues."It would be nice to get some at-bats, but if I don't, I feel I could go in there and battle some way," he said. Geovany Soto and Luis Martinez have been handling the catching duties while Napoli has been sidelined. The Rangers are expected to add a catcher, possibly Brandon Snyder, on Saturday when rosters are expanded.
Rangers want faster tempo from Feldman
CLEVELAND -- Scott Feldman will be trying to snap a four-game losing streak when he starts against the Indians on Saturday. He is not in danger of losing his spot in the rotation, according to manager Ron Washington, but the Rangers do want him to pick up his tempo.That's what he and Washington have been talking about since his most recent start, a 6-5 loss to the Twins on Sunday. "I'm going to try and do what I always do, but just try to be a little quicker," Feldman said. "You always want to be as quick as you can, as long as it's not affecting your performance. The quicker you work, the better for the team. It keeps the defense on their toes." Feldman passed Roy Oswalt and earned a spot in the rotation by going 6-0 with a 2.81 ERA in six starts and one relief appearance from June 19 to Aug. 4, but he is 0-4 with a 6.45 ERA in his last four starts. "We have no issues with Feldman," Washington said. "He doesn't have to prove anything to us, just do what we want them all to do, and that's keep us in the game. The last couple of games, I don't think he's thrown the ball all that bad, but his tempo has been down a little bit."
Olt reports improvement in his heel
CLEVELAND -- Infielder Mike Olt, who played in just three games during the recent 10-day homestand, said that the inflammation in his right heel is starting to subside."I feel I'm getting over the hump," said Olt, who last started on Monday. "I just need to keep doing my rehab, because the last game, I was pretty miserable." The inflammation probably won't completely go away until after the season is over, which the Rangers hope is still two months away. The Rangers have also talked about Olt playing winter ball, but they have to address his physical problems first.
The inflammation in the heel is not Olt's only issue."I'm trying to get my weight back," he said. "I lost a lot of weight this season, just being my first full professional season. I want to make sure I get it back up so I'm at full strength again."
Grimm reassigned to Double-A Frisco
CLEVELAND -- Triple-A Round Rock pitcher Justin Grimm is not going to be one of the September callups, at least not yet. Instead he has been reassigned to Double-A Frisco, which is going to the Texas League playoffs. Round Rock did not make the Pacific Coast League playoffs.The Rangers want Grimm to pitch in the playoffs, and they want to take a look at him as a reliever for possible duty later in the month at the big league level. "With Frisco in the playoffs and Round Rock not having that opportunity, we felt it was a venue where he could pitch in highly competitive games and be an option for us in the big leagues," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "We also want to look at him out of the bullpen to see how he would respond to pitching multiple times in relief over the course of a week." Grimm began the season with Frisco and went 8-3 with a 1.80 ERA in 14 starts, earning him a promotion to the Major Leagues. He went 1-1 with a 10.80 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance for the Rangers in late June while Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando and Neftali Feliz were on the disabled list. He was optioned to Frisco on July 7, and shortly thereafter promoted to Round Rock. He went 2-3 with a 4.59 ERA in eight starts and one relief appearance for the Express.
Manager Ron Washington, whose New Orleans home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina, reported no major problems after Hurricane Issac went through earlier this week.
Said Washington: "Everything is good. No wind damage. No water damage. The icebox may smell up the house, though, because there has been no electricity for three days." The Rangers are expected to announce their September callups after Friday's game. Double-A Frisco infielder Jurickson Profar is expected to be promoted at some point, but the Rangers may wait until after the Texas League playoffs are over. Triple-A reliever Tanner Scheppers will have to wait until Tuesday for a callup. He was optioned to Round Rock last Sunday, and players have to wait 10 days before they can be recalled unless it's due to injury. Scheppers is eligible to come back because Round Rock's season is over.
The Arizona Rookie League Rangers defeated the Dodgers, 7-3, on Thursday to advance to the league championship game. They play the Athletics on Friday.
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.