By Steve Hurt/Special Contributor
FRISCO, Texas – With a successful three-game stint at Double-A Frisco over, Mitch Moreland is eager to return to the field for the Texas Rangers. That return should come on tonight. when the Rangers open a three-game series in St. Louis, a rematch of the 2011 World Series which the Cardinals won in seven games.
“Feeling good, ready to go. Main thing was trying to get my timing back, am three or four days out and feeling good, ready to get back out there,” Moreland said after going 3-for-4 with a single, double and home run for Frisco in a Wednesday afternoon game.
The Amory native and Mississippi State product went on the 15-day disabled list on June 6 with a strained right hamstring, nearly one year after missing 31 games with a strained left hamstring. However, the 27-year-old first baseman was quick to state the two injuries couldn’t be any more different.
“They said it was a Grade 1 (strain)” this time around, Moreland said. “I don’t know anything about it, just try to go out and play. Felt something, Rangers wanted to play it safe and made the call. Just tried to get back healthy and try to get back on the field.”
He last played on June 5 at Boston, when he went 2-for-3 in a win over the Red Sox. In 58 games, he is hitting .288 with 12 HR, 29 RBI and has an on base percentage plus slugging of .899. Texas has clearly missed Moreland’s bat as well as his glove during his absence as the Rangers have used four different first basemen over the last 15 games, going just 5-10 over that stretch and dropping to second in the American League West standings.
And with the Rangers starting a road trip that will see them play three on the road against the Cardinals and Yankees, two likely playoff teams, this is definitely a good time to get their starting first sacker back on the diamond.
“Every game’s a big game for us. Every road trip’s a big road trip for us,” Moreland said. “You go out and try to beat whoever’s on the other side of you. That’s our goal, is to go out and create some opportunities and let the team know that they’ve got to play us. We’re going to try to go out, play hard and get the job done.”
Steve Hunt is a freelance writer based in Frisco, Texas.