The bizarre story of Mike Napoli's 2012 season seems to have veered off in another strange direction, as the Rangers' beats on Twitter are reportingthat Napoli has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left quad, and that Luis Martinez has been recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. He missed time earlier in the week with left quad issues, and missed a few games last month with right quad issues following a collision with Seattle's Miguel Olivo, and now he'll spend the next 2-3 weeks on the shelf trying to get himself right physically.
With Napoli down and out for the time being, you'll see Soto getting everyday playing time behind the plate for the duration of Napoli's absence, and, with any amount of luck, he'll get a little hot at the plate and continue to build up the Rangers' confidence in him being a part of their catching solution in 2013. Martinez, meanwhile, suffices as Soto's emergency backup, and becomes the newest member of a miniscule three-man bench comprising Martinez, Mike Olt, and Craig Gentry; of course, Olt and Gentry have logged exactly one start between them since last Sunday, so that serves as a fairly strong indication of just how eager Ron Washington is to utilize his bench right now.
Napoli showed some recent signs of recapturing his career-long .850-plus OPS form when he slugged opposing pitchers to the tune of .179/.361/.714 with five home runs over his last nine games of July, but he had resumed looking about as lost at the plate as he has ever looked over the last 7-10 days (0-for-14, eight strikeouts since August 1st), and, given that, you tend to think that this DL assignment could serve a couple of purposes. Yes, his body has been subjected to a ton of punishment over the last 16-odd months and could use a break, but on top of that, you hope that this extended breather will produce an effect similar to that of last year's late-June breather, when he spent a few weeks on the DL and thereafter proceeded to tear the cover off the ball from July through October.