NEW YORK -- Catcher Mike Napoli sprained his left ankle in the World Series last year and was still dealing with that issue in Spring Training. Before the ankle completely healed, Napoli started having trouble with his left quad muscle.
The Rangers did not put Napoli on the disabled list until Saturday, but he suggested that he has not been completely healthy all season.
"It has been a grind this year," Napoli said. "I've been in the training room all year, starting in Spring Training."
Napoli, who last played on Friday, started resuming hitting on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium after taking three days off. He also did some leg exercises with strength coach Jose Vazquez. Napoli is eligible to come off the disabled list on Aug. 26, but after what he has been through this year, the Rangers aren't going to rush anything. His return may not come until September.
"I hope I'm ready when two weeks are up, but I'm not going to push it," Napoli said. "I want to be out there playing, but it will be nice to get behind the plate healthy and not have this thing nagging at me."
This is the second time in Napoli's two seasons with the Rangers that he has been on the disabled list. Last year, he was sidelined from June 12 to July 3 with a strained rib cage muscle.
When he was placed on the disabled list last year, Napoli was hitting .221 with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs in 46 games. After being activated, he hit .378 with 20 home runs and 50 RBIs in 67 games. He is currently hitting .223 with 17 home runs and 40 RBIs in 92 games, so maybe the stay on the DL will give Napoli a similar boost when he returns.
"I hope it does," Napoli said. "Maybe it will. But I don't want to get injured and take a rest just so I can start hitting again. Hopefully, it will work out."