ARLINGTON -- When Geovany Soto was traded to the Rangers, the Cubs were 16 games below .500 and 18 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Central. Now, he's relishing the chance to catch for a contender and experience regular-season games with a postseason atmosphere.
"To see the stadium filled to capacity and everyone cheering, it feels like it," Soto said. "You can sense the energy in the crowd."
Soto became the Rangers' everyday catcher when Mike Napoli was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left quad on Saturday. Since going 2-for-5 in his Rangers debut against the Angels on Aug. 2, Soto has two hits in 17 at-bats over his last five games. Other than former Cubs teammate Ryan Dempster, Soto has had to get comfortable with a new pitching staff.
"He's a big time Major League catcher, he's not some rookie," manager Ron Washington said. "He's dealing with a new staff, but he has a feel for hitters. We're very fortunate to have him. He's done a good job getting familiarized with our pitchers."
Soto has caught Dempster and Matt Harrison twice this year while starting at designated hitter last Monday against the Red Sox. He was behind the plate with Derek Holland on the mound for the first time in Saturday's 2-1 win over the Tigers. Since the Rangers acquired Soto, they have scored 65 runs in 11 games.
"This offense is pretty impressive," Soto said. "Adrian [Beltre], Josh [Hamilton], Nelson Cruz, [Ian] Kinsler, [Elvis] Andrus, Michael Young -- it's pretty stacked. This is an offensive club, no doubt about it."