The Texas Rangers put Mike Napoli in left field on Monday, and it directly led to an error when Napoli flubbed a play on a ball hit toward him.
Despite the gaffe, which Napoli described simply as 'Bad hop, man', manager Jeff Banister reiterated on Tuesday that he'll remain in left. The rationale is easy: the Rangers love his offense and value that over any defensive shortcomings he may have.
Said Banister to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan: "I don't consider it an experiment. With Mike Napoli playing in the outfield, the reward is on the offensive side. We are going to continue to have Mike work and be out there. My guess is the more he plays, the more confident he'll be."
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The desire to have Napoli out there no matter what has to do with the Rangers' season-long struggles against left-handed pitching. Banister addressed that as well in speaking with Sullivan: "We have beaten left-handers, but in our complete body of work, we have struggled against left-handers. With all the other guys that have been out there, we haven't been getting the offense. The ball found him, we didn't make a play. We'll keep working at it."