Rangers start Torrealba over hot-hitting Napoli

Rangers start Torrealba over hot-hitting Napoli

SEATTLE -- Yorvit Torrealba started at catcher on Friday for the Rangers. That bucks the recent trend of Mike Napoli asserting himself as the Rangers' No. 1 catcher.

Torrealba was starting for only the fifth time in 14 games for the Rangers in September. Napoli has started eight games and Matt Treanor started one. Since the All-Star break, Torrealba has started 29 times, two more than Napoli. Before the All-Star break, Torrealba had a 63-23 advantage in starts behind the plate.

"There are no issues," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "When Torrealba is back there, he is our starting catcher. When Mike is back there, he is our starting catcher. Right now, Napoli is swinging a hot bat and I'm going to ride that hot bat. I'll give Torrealba his games. How many I don't know."

Torrealba acknowledged Napoli remains one of the hottest hitters on the team. Going into Friday, Napoli was hitting .552 with four home runs and nine RBIs in his last nine games. Since the All-Star break, he is hitting a Major League-best .382 with 14 home runs, 34 RBIs and a .685 slugging percentage in 51 games.

"I'm really happy for him," Torrealba said. "When you play against him, you don't really see the talent and the way he goes about his business. Playing with him has been unbelievable. Offensively, he's on fire and he calls good games."

But he has also excelled behind the plate. The Rangers are 35-15 when Napoli catches and their pitchers have a .323 ERA with him back there. They are 47-44 with Torrealba catching and their pitchers have a 4.37 ERA working with him.

"I'm happy with the way my year is going, but I still want to improve my calling of games," Torrealba said. "I'm not too happy with that. It's a new league and I'm still learning the league. Offensively, I still feel good."

Torrealba's 91 starts at catcher are still the second most of his career. He caught 89 games last season for the Padres. His career high was 105 starts for the Rockies in 2007, when they advanced to the World Series.