Mike Napoli spent the first 11 years of his professional career with the Angels, but it was not until he became a Ranger in 2011 that he first felt like he truly belonged.

So tonight, when the Red Sox open a three-game series in Arlington, Texas, Napoli will be going back to where he has his happiest baseball memories.

“They were probably the two best years of my career, it was awesome, I loved every single minute of it,’’ said Napoli before last night’s series finale against the Blue Jays. “I had a great time there, made a lot of great friends on and off the field, the city’s great, it was a good time.’’

Napoli did not want to get into the reasons why he was not always in the best place when he was with the Angels, saying, “It was different, just leave it at that, being there than it was in Texas. I learned a lot in Anaheim as a player, but it’s just different in Texas.’’

Not being in Southern California anymore was part of the solution to what made Napoli happier, but playing for manager Ron Washington deep in the heart of Texas also contributed.

“Being in Texas, it brought my personality out, the person I am, to be able to be myself and play,’’ said Napoli, who added that hitting at The Ballpark in Arlington is a wonderful experience: “I loved hitting there, the ball flies.”

“It was fun. Playing for Wash, it was easy. You can go out there and be yourself and do what you do on the field and have fun but play hard. That’s the type of player I am, so it worked out well.’’

What did not work out so well was Napoli’s attempt to stay in Texas.

A free agent after last season, Napoli did not want to leave, but the Rangers made the decision for him by being willing to go only two years on his next contract. Napoli wanted more and once he got the initial three-year contract offer from the Red Sox in the offseason, he decided to make the switch.