Mike Napoli was beaming on Friday morning even before he saw the lineup card for the game against the Rockies featuring his name in the No. 4 slot as the Angels’ designated hitter.
Daybreak brought good news. Napoli woke feeling no pain in his right shoulder after testing it for the first time on Thursday since undergoing arthroscopic surgery in late October, cleaning up a little mess that had cost him a month of the second half.
“I threw 70, 75 feet, around 20, 25 times,” Napoli said. “It went well, and I’m not even sore today. I was a little worried how I’d feel when I got up, but it was fine, no pain.
“The last time I threw was the last game last season, so it’s been a while. I feel strong.”
Even if he’s not ready to cut loose with enough velocity to catch by the season opener on April 6, Napoli wants to make the 25-man roster as a DH until he’s ready to go behind the plate.
Manager Mike Scioscia has maintained that roster flexibility would go into that decision, which would force the club to carry a third catcher — Bobby Wilson or Ryan Budde — to back up Jeff Mathis.