Napoli Outfield Experiment Should End

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Mike Napoli is hitting the ball well right now against left-handed pitching, which is pretty much the only time he's played since being acquired by the Texas Rangers back in early August.

Sunday afternoon, Rangers' manager Jeff Banister had an odd plan for Napoli when he decided to stick him in left field to extend the Rangers' lineup and allow him to fit Napoli in along with Mitch Moreland and Prince Fielder.

Napoli said he'd never played outfield in his professional career prior to Sunday, and on Monday night it showed.

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Keep in mind, this series against Houston is potentially for the AL West title. It's September against a first-place team, not a game against Oakland in May. Yet, Napoli was back out in left field on Monday night, and it almost bit the Rangers in the butt.

Napoli botched his first attempt at a fly ball, dropping it to put a runner on third before Cole Hamels was able to pitch out of the mess and render the error harmless — other than making Hamels throw more pitches and work seven innings instead of quite possibly eight.

It's true, the Rangers' offense is better with Napoli in the lineup, but it suffers tremendously in the field and defense is every bit as important as offense, especially with a stellar pitcher like Cole Hamels on the mound. At this time of year, everything is magnified and pitching and defense take precedence over offense. Now, if someone could just let Banister know that.

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