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Napoli, Rangers scheduled to meet this week

Napoli, Rangers scheduled to meet this week

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Napoli, Rangers scheduled to meet this week
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers could know something about catcher Mike Napoli before the Winter Meetings start on Monday, but free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton's ultimate destination remains a mystery.

Napoli and his agent, Brian Grieper, are scheduled to meet with the Rangers on either Tuesday or Wednesday. But it may turn out to be an unproductive session. Napoli is looking for a four-year deal, and the Rangers have indicated they are willing to go just two years at this point. The Rangers are also interested in free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

Napoli played in 108 games for the Rangers in 2012, hitting .212 with 24 home runs, 56 RBIs and a .469 slugging percentage. He missed a month because of a strained left quadriceps muscle and finished the season splitting time at catcher with Geovany Soto.

Hamilton hit .285 with 43 home runs, 128 RBIs and a .577 slugging percentage while finishing fifth in the American League Most Valuable Player Award voting. But despite all that, clubs appear reluctant to pursue him aggressively, most likely because of his age (31) and his history of injuries.

The Mariners, Brewers, Red Sox and Orioles are among the teams that have expressed interest, but they also have some reluctance to move aggressively. Hamilton is reportedly seeking a seven-year deal, but Major League sources suggest he'll likely end up with a 4-5-year contract.

The Rangers have maintained contact with Hamilton's agent, Michael Moye, and still retain interest in bringing him back. But their main free-agent target is pitcher Zack Greinke, and they'll likely take a run at switch-hitting outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher if Hamilton goes elsewhere.

Briefly
• Rangers special assistant Greg Maddux has been named the pitching coach for Team USA for next spring's World Baseball Classic. He will resume his duties with the Rangers once the tournament is over.

• First baseman Chris McGunness has been named to the Arizona Fall League's All-Prospect Team.

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.

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