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Mike Napoli's defensive struggles to cost Angels catcher playing time

April 5, 2010 |  7:24 pm

Napoli_300 Mike Napoli, who hit 20 home runs in each of the last two seasons, is clearly a better offensive player than Jeff Mathis, who hit .211 with five home runs and 28 runs batted in last season while sharing Angels catching duties with Napoli.

But it appears Mathis will get an edge over Napoli in playing time early in the season because Mathis shined defensively in spring training while Napoli failed to throw out any base-stealers and struggled with some of his mechanics. Mathis got the start in Monday night's season opener against the Minnesota Twins.

"If someone plays well, he can take off and run with the position," Manager Mike Scioscia said before the game. "Right now, we're going to give Jeff a look in the early going, but Mike is going to play."

-- Mike DiGiovanna

Photo: Angels catcher Mike Napoli singles against the Rangers to drive in a run last September.

Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images