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07/07/08 9:25 PM ET
With Napoli out, Mathis will be tested
Young backstop has work to do at throwing out baserunners
By Shawn Shroyer / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Angels catcher Mike Napoli was officially placed on the disabled list Monday, and the club recalled catcher Ryan Budde from Triple-A Salt Lake to fill Napoli's spot on the roster. Napoli was placed on the DL with inflammation in his right shoulder, and underwent an MRI on the shoulder Monday. "We're waiting on results," manager Mike Scioscia said. "[Angels orthopedist] Dr. [Lewis] Yocum will review whatever they find out. Hopefully we'll get word within the next day or two." Having been a catcher in the Major Leagues for 13 seasons, Scioscia is well aware that shoulders can be particularly vulnerable for backstops. "A lot of times you're not throwing from the same angle," Scioscia said. "Depending on where the pitch comes in from the pitcher, when you have to throw down, and which base you're throwing to, you're not always throwing from the same arm slot. I've had a sore shoulder from the time I was 18 to the time I finished throwing batting practice a couple hours ago." All kidding aside, Napoli's move to the DL puts even more strain on the Angels' catching situation -- a situation that has allowed 26 straight stolen bases. Napoli hadn't exactly been nailing down runners -- having caught only seven baserunners compared to the 36 stolen bases he's allowed -- but now the catching load falls almost exclusively on Jeff Mathis, who has also allowed 36 stolen bases, but has thrown out 14 baserunners. "He's obviously going to have most of the playing time now," Scioscia said of Mathis. "The reason is what he does defensively. With his presence behind the plate, the pitchers have become very comfortable with him." That comfort level may keep Mathis behind the plate for all four of the games of the Rangers series, despite Arlington's sweltering heat. "We'll take it one day at a time," Scioscia said. "He may be 106 pounds by Thursday, but we'll take it one at a time." And that's about as serious as Scioscia seems to take opponents' stolen base success rate against his club. Despite Napoli and Mathis' respective 16.3 and 23.4 caught-stealing percentages, Scioscia doesn't seem bothered -- at least not enough to make any drastic changes that may disrupt the team's focus on the field. "I don't think the running game is out of control," Scioscia said. "I think the bottom line is looking at attempts and looking at when they're running. We'll look at it as the season goes on. "I don't see it as a huge negative. If you look at overall totals, it's not that much out of order. We're going to try enough to control the running game, but not so much that it effects us negatively in more important areas of the game."
Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.