Ankle still troubling Mike Napoli

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli still isn't able to run on his left ankle, which he injured in Game 6 of the World Series, but said he should be fine for spring training.

Napoli said the ankle feels better, but he tried to run a week to 10 days ago and had to stop because of the discomfort.

"But it's getting stronger," Napoli said Wednesday during the team's Winter Caravan stop in Arlington. "There was no reason for me to push it, but it's getting stable. Dr. [Keith] Meister looked at it [earlier in the offseason] and we're on track. I'll be ready for spring training."

Napoli stretched ligaments in the ankle in Game 6 of the World Series, tripping over the second-base bag in the fourth inning after St. Louis pitcher Fernando Salas made an errant throw. Napoli stayed in the game and X-rays were negative for a fracture.

He played Game 7 and said he didn't worry about the ankle for a week after the season. An MRI showed he was structurally fine and didn't need surgery, but he has been receiving treatment. He said that had the injury occurred during the regular season, he likely would have been on the disabled list.

Napoli, who hit 30 home runs with 75 RBIs and had a career-high .320 batting average last season, is slated to report with the other catchers and pitchers Feb. 22 in Surprise, Ariz.

He still wants to stay in Texas long-term, despite the fact that the team and his agent are focused on a one-year deal right now. Napoli can become a free agent after the coming season.

"I want to be here for a long time," Napoli said. "Right now I'm letting my agent take care of that and I'm getting ready for the season. I'm trying to get my ankle healthy and just get ready."

Napoli said the fan reaction to him has been tremendous.

"It's everything an athlete asks for," Napoli said. "You want to be in your town and be known and be liked. It's definitely a great feeling, and I'm going to try to keep it going and do the best I can to keep everyone loving me here."

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.