SEATTLE -- While Tony Reagins would neither confirm nor deny the report that Mike Napoli had been claimed on waivers by the Red Sox, the Angels' general manager did say there's a "strategy behind the waiver process," adding that dozens of players appear on the waiver list every day.Manager Mike Scioscia, meanwhile, said it was much ado about very little, if anything. Even though Napoli, the club leader in homers with 21, was not in the lineup for the second game in a row on Monday night against the Mariners, Scioscia said it had nothing to do with a waiver claim by Boston and the possibility of a deal being discussed. "That's the system," Scioscia said. "When it's leaked out, a lot of people who don't understand the system sensationalize stuff. That's routine. Don't read a lot into it. Just about every player on this team has been put on waivers." The strategies involved are many and complicated. For one thing, it gives a club an idea which organizations have interest in a particular player, and that could lead to a future deal down the road. The Angels have made significant waiver deals the past two seasons, acquiring starter Scott Kazmir last season from Tampa Bay for Sean Rodriguez, Alex Torres and Matt Sweeney and sending closer Brian Fuentes to the Twins for a player to be named later.
Napoli wants to get back in lineup
SEATTLE -- Mike Napoli doesn't live in an isolation chamber. He's heard the report that he was placed on waivers by the Angels and claimed by the Red Sox, not that it particularly means that much. Players are waived and claimed every day with nothing happening. It's part of the system, giving clubs a way to gauge the interest in their athletes."It's something that's out of my control," Napoli said before Monday night's game at Safeco Field against the Mariners. "It's good to know that other teams are interested in you. It's good that I didn't go unclaimed." What bothered Napoli more than this business was the fact that his name was not on manager Mike Scioscia's lineup card for the second straight day. He leads the club with 21 homers and has 60 RBIs, both career highs, while appearing in 113 of the team's 131 games as a catcher and first baseman. "This is where my teammates are," Napoli said, stressing that his preference is to remain with the Angels. "I feel like I could play every day and put up good numbers. I think I can be an everyday player; I like to play." Scioscia had Jeff Mathis behind the plate with Ervin Santana on the mound and Juan Rivera at first base, where Napoli has emerged as the primary replacement in the absence of Kendry Morales since May 30. Napoli has made 46 starts at first, the team winning 24, and 57 at catcher, the club winning 23. "Catching's a rhythm thing," Napoli said. "I want to be a good catcher. I don't know why I give up a run more [than Mathis and Bobby Wilson] or there's more walks when I catch. If I knew that, I'd figure it out and do something about it. I want to control those [pitchers], get in the right position. I want that and I'm not shying away from it." Moving from catcher to first and going long stretches without catching has complicated things somewhat, he said, but "I just want to play. That's the bottom line." Napoli, Scioscia said, "has played virtually every day. You look at a guy with 500, 550 plate appearances, that's virtually every day." Napoli has made 413 plate appearances, and his 478 slugging percentage has him tied with Torii Hunter for the team lead (excluding Kendry Morales' .487). Napoli's on-base percentage (.317) is down, and Scioscia pointed to his slippage with runners in scoring position (.202) as a factor in slightly diminished overall production.
Pineiro getting closer to return
SEATTLE -- Joel Pineiro continues to make steady progress in his recovery from a strained left oblique and could be pitching a simulated game sometime this week while the Angels are in Seattle and Oakland, manager Mike Scioscia said.Pineiro had his second bullpen session on Monday and was "encouraged" by the way he was able to command the ball and throw without discomfort. He was 10-7 with a 4.18 ERA when he went to the disabled list on July 22. "He had a great session today," Scioscia said. "He's passing every checkpoint with flying colors. He turned it loose to day on the mound. We'll see how he comes out of it. We'll see if we can get him in a sim game, hopefully by the end of the road trip." Pineiro, who has made 20 starts in the first year of a two-year, $16 million free-agent deal with the Angels, is eager to get back on the mound in game conditions before the end of the season.
The Angels are 10-3 against the Mariners this season and 5-1 at Safeco Field. Seattle hasn't claimed a season series from the Angels since 2003 when it won 11 of 19 games. Starting with the 2003 season, the Angels are 79-48 against the Mariners... . Felix Hernandez, who engages Dan Haren on Tuesday night, has been lights-out dominate lately with a 1.52 ERA over his past 15 starts and 1.96 over his past 21 outings. Hernandez leads the AL in innings (204 1/3), is third in ERA (2.47) and is second in strikeouts (192) behind the Angels' Jered Weaver, who has 200 in 182 innings. The Angels are 7-4 against Hernandez, who has a 4.34 ERA against them in 19 starts He's 0-2 this season with a 5.12 ERA. ... Heading into the series, Ichiro Suzuki's 239 career hits against the Angels have him fifth, trailing Hall of Famers George Brett (282), Carl Yastrzemski (281), Carl Ripken Jr. (266) and Paul Molitor (258). ... Minor League spotlight: First baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo is destroying Pacific Coast League pitching for Triple-A Salt Lake. Trumbo, who had a homer, single and three RBIs in a 10-9 loss to Colorado Springs, is batting .429 over his past seven games with two homers, eight RBIs. Teammate Alexi Amarista, a second baseman, is batting .483 while hitting safely in his first seven games with the Bees after getting promoted from Double-A Arkansas. At Arkansas, Jeremy Moore owns a 10-game hitting streak during which he has batted .421 with 12 runs scored and 10 RBIs. ... Randal Grichuk is hitting .500 over his past 10 games after launching a homer to go with another hit in a win over Quad Cities by Class A Cedar Rapids.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.