By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
ST. LOUIS – Mitch Moreland can now put baseball in its place.
The Texas Rangers’ starting first baseman, a former Amory and Mississippi State standout, has a new No. 1 fan – even if he goes 0-for-4 at the plate.
Moreland’s son, Crue Howell, will have his first birthday next month.
“It’s definitely put everything in perspective,” Moreland said, then smiled. “You realize it’s just a game. Soon as you see the little guy smiling at you, having the wife and kid waiting on you, it kind of lets you know it’s just a game. You really can’t put words on what that means.”
It’s only a game, but a game Moreland continues to prove his value in four years into the majors. He methodically worked his way into the Rangers dugout after being drafted in the 17th round in 2007.
This season, he has methodically worked his way up the lineup card.
He hung around the lower part of the batting order for his first three seasons. This year, he has found a home in the middle of the order, even taking hacks at the No. 2 spot.
“I really try not to make any adjustment. I try to have good at-bats and have the same approach no matter what,” Moreland said. “A little bit higher in the lineup, you kind of have to play the game a little bit more. Usually your one-guy is going to be stealing bases, so you might have to see some pitches early, but I usually try to keep the same approach no matter where I’m hitting.”
Fresh off the disabled list with a mild right hamstring issue, Moreland is hitting .278, 12 points above his career mark, and is fifth among MLB All-Star vote-getters at first base. He has 12 home runs and 30 RBIs for the first-place Rangers, who just swept the Cardinals, who still own baseball’s best record.
Moreland raced out of the Rangers clubhouse Saturday evening before the game to meet with some of the multitude of family and friends who made the trip north. St. Louis and Atlanta are the closest MLB cities to Amory, leaving Moreland with a full list of people to catch up with each day.
At home, it’s not that much of a challenge.
“Susannah does all the work. I shouldn’t complain about sleep. It’s a blast. All I do is play in the floor with (Crue). She gets all the hard work, the poop diapers and all that stuff,” Moreland said.