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Mike Napoli feels comfortable at plate again

DETROIT -- Texas Rangers catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli said prior to the weekend series in Minnesota, something just didn't feel right for him at the plate.

"I wasn't feeling comfortable in the box," Napoli said. "I really wasn't picking it up and being able to swing at a pitch I wanted to. I thought I was chasing a lot. It just wasn't right. I was in an early slump, I guess."

He was just 1-for-13 (.077) in the opening homestand with five strikeouts and no walks. It wasn't the same Napoli that dominated the second half of last season.

But he sensed things were getting better right before the club went to Minnesota. He had a home run on Sunday of that series and then showed up at Fenway Park feeling ready. He was 6-for-9 with three homers and eight RBIs in that two-game set with the Boston Red Sox and had excellent at-bats. On Thursday, he hit his fifth home run in the last four games, the longest streak of his career.

Rangers hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh worked with Napoli on getting his lower and upper half in sync at the plate and could tell things were improving.

"I felt like if he kept working on getting into a good position, he'd be fine," Coolbaugh said. "That was the main problem. He wasn't getting himself into a good position to make a swing on the ball and he was caught in-between. His timing started to come around in that Minnesota series and I knew it would click once he got that muscle memory. A lot of it's mental and trying to do too much too early and I think he's fallen into the routine now and getting his work, taking BP and translating it into the game."