Mike Napoli, three time Texas Ranger, most recently in 2017, when he was the Rangers first baseman, tore his ACL, according to the Cleveland Indians Twitter feed. Napoli was playing for Columbus, the Indians’ AAA affiliate, in an effort to get back to the majors with some club this season, and had to be carted off the field on Tuesday when he injured himself trying to field a popup.
Napoli will apparently need surgery that will involve a 10-14 month recovery, which would seem to make it likely Napoli’s career is at an end. The 36 year old Napoli was originally a 17th round pick of the Los Angeles Angels, and spent the first five years of his career with the Angels, primarily as a catcher. The Angels traded him to Toronto, along with Juan Rivera, in the very regrettable (for LAAAAA fans) deal that sent Vernon Wells to Anaheim in January, 2011, and the Jays sent him to Texas four days later for Frankie Francisco.
Napoli had a breakout 2011 campaign (slashing .320/.414/.631 in 432 plate appearances) and was a huge part of the Rangers’ 2011 A.L. Championship club and the 2012 team that lost to Baltimore in the Wild Card game. Napoli signed with Boston as a free agent after 2012, and was with them until 2015, when he was traded in August of that year to the Rangers, and helped Texas take the A.L. West.
After spending the 2016 season with the Cleveland Indians, and going to the World Series with them that year, Napoli returned to Texas for 2017. However, he battled injuries and ineffectiveness, going .193/.285/.428 in 485 plate appearances, and could only land a minor league deal this past offseason.
Napoli’s career may be over, but he is going to have a special place in the memories of any Ranger fan from this decade. Best of luck to him in his surgery and recovery.