Mitch Moreland eager for healthy, productive second half

A former Amory and MSU standout Mitch Moreland was a 17th-round draft pick for the Rangers in 2007. (AP)

A former Amory and MSU standout Mitch Moreland was a 17th-round draft pick for the Rangers in 2007. (AP)

By Steve Hunt
Special to the Journal

ARLINGTON, Texas – Despite missing 14 games with a hamstring injury, Mitch Moreland can’t quibble with how things went before the All-Star break. In 80 games, the former Amory and Mississippi State standout hit .266 with 13 HR and 37 RBI with a sparkling on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS)of .806.

“The injury came at a bad time. I felt like I was feeling pretty good at the plate. As the season was going on, I felt like I was headed in the right direction,” he said. “It got to my timing, but that’s something that you’re always going to have to fight through. Whether injury or not, you’re always going to have your ups and your downs.”

After having three days off for the MLB All-Star break, time which was spent with friends and family in Pelham, Ala., where Moreland, 27, his wife and son now call home, he was back with his Texas teammates for a Thursday afternoon workout in advance of resuming play on Friday night against Baltimore. “Feel good and ready to go,” he said. “Had a few days off, got to recharge the batteries a little bit. It’s good to be back and get the ball rolling again.”

The Rangers went into the weekend second in the American League West. They’re two games behind Oakland, who won the division in 2012, overtaking Texas on the season’s final day despite the Rangers having a five-game lead with nine to play. And despite opening the second half trailing the A’s, Moreland likes where his club sits.
‘in a great spot’

“I think we’re in a great spot right now, especially with what we had to deal with. We had a lot of young guys step up and we found a way to win,” he said. “No matter what situation we were put in, we found a way to put ourselves right there at the top, where we want to be going into the second half.”

Rangers manager Ron Washington is the only skipper Moreland has played for at the big-league level and all he wants to see from his starting first baseman in the second half is more of the same from what he did in the first half.

“Just hope he continues to stay healthy,” Washington said. “If he stays healthy, he’s going to be fine. He’s starting to come around a little bit. We certainly need him to pick up and I think he will.”

Steve Hunt is a freelance writer based in Frisco, Texas.