By Steve Hunt/Special to the Journal
ARLINGTON, Texas – A familiar name was back in the lineup for the Texas Rangers on Monday night against the Angels – Mitch Moreland.
The Amory native hit ninth, going 1 for 4 in his first action since June 19 at San Diego. He had been out six weeks with a left hamstring strain.
“I feel great. I had five games in the minors and a couple games where I could push it a little bit and no problems at all,” Moreland said. “Just the general soreness of getting back out on the field was the biggest thing I had to overcome.”
He’s 2 for 7 after Tuesday night’s game.
Returning to the diamond for the two-time defending American League champion Rangers was just part of an eventful week for the 26-year-old first baseman, especially after he and his wife welcomed their first child last week.
“There’s not words that I can describe it with,” Moreland said on becoming a father for the first time. “It’s been an unbelievable experience. Having that little boy in my arms every night when I get home or in the morning when I wake up is a dream come true. It really kind of puts things in perspective.”
Many of his teammates congratulated him once his son was born. “That’s the thing about this team that’s so special. What we do on the field is impressive, but the relationships we have off the field and the group we have here is second to none,” he said.
He was still on the disabled list when his wife was due, which allowed him to make their son’s birth since Texas didn’t have to put him on paternity leave. “That was probably the only good thing about being on the DL at that time,” Moreland said.
Before returning, he had 20 at-bats with Double-A Frisco and no one was happier to see him return than Rangers manager Ron Washington. “I’m looking for Moreland to come here and be what he was before he went down, a player that can make a difference,” Washington said. “It’s nice to have his presence in our lineup because we know he can make a difference.”
While injured, Moreland gained fellow Mississippi native Roy Oswalt of Weir as a new teammate. “Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun, talking about a lot of the similar places at home, fishing and hunting. It’s been a blast having him here and getting to know him has been fun,” he said.