Mitch Moreland remained optimistic Saturday that he will avoid microscopic surgery on his left elbow and remain an active player for the Texas Rangers.
Moreland took multiple rounds of batting practice and threw a day after an MRI exam showed that he has a loose body in the joint, causing it to lock up and feel sore. The soreness is lingering, but he said that it’s not severe enough that he can’t play through it.
“I can deal with soreness,” Moreland said. “Right now, I’m on track. There’s some soreness in there, but it hasn’t locked up.”
Manager Jeff Banister held Moreland out of the lineup to make sure the elbow didn’t locked up before the game. If it stayed loose, Banister would consider Moreland as a bench option late and as a possible starter Sunday in the series finale at Safeco Field.
The Rangers are at a point in their schedule in which they could rest Moreland until next weekend. As a left-handed hitter, Moreland could sit Sunday against left-hander James Paxton, and as a designated hitter, he could sit Tuesday and Wednesday as pitchers hit at Arizona.
The Rangers have off days Monday and Thursday.
Were Moreland to elect to have surgery, his trip to the disabled list could be back-dated to Thursday and he could be activated as early as May 7. He would be held out of baseball activities for 7-10 days following surgery.
“I want him healthy and a player every day for a long year,” Banister said. “If not starting him tonight puts us on the plus side of that, then I think I’ve done my job with that one.
“The player has a say-so in how he wants to approach it. We can educated him the best we can. I trust in what our medical people are telling me, and I trust what Mitch has talked to me about. I feel he’s been completely honest with me on how he feels.”
When right-handers Nick Martinez and Yovani Gallardo took early batting practice Saturday, it was a dead giveaway that they will be the Rangers’ starting pitchers Tuesday and Wednesday in the first interleague series of the season at Arizona.
Gallardo, noted for his hitting prowess as a pitcher, is looking forward to it.
“It’s going to be nice to get out there and swing the bat,” he said.
Gallardo, though, admitted to having some rust in the cage after spending his entire career taking batting practice multiple times a week while in the National League with Milwaukee.
But even during his Brewers days, when he amassed 12 homers in eight seasons, he knew what mattered most.
“The main thing is going out there to pitch,” he said.
Who says a Rangers player other than Prince Fielder isn’t leading the league in any offensive categories? Rougned Odor has the bruises to prove that he is atop the American League in times hit by pitch.
The second baseman had been plunked five times in the Rangers’ first 10 games, a distinction that baseball-reference.com said only four others since 1914 can match. One of them is teammate Shin-Soo Choo, who had it happen to him in 2013.
Odor hasn’t asked Choo for any advice on how to get beaned. It’s just baseball, he guesses.
“I don’t know. I’m asking the same question,” said Odor, who was hit five times last season. “They’re trying to pitch me inside, and they’re missing their spots. That’s never happened to me before.”
The Rangers had been hit 13 times, which was tied with Kansas City for the MLB lead. According to baseball-reference.com, no team in the past 100 years had been hit 13 times in its first 10 games.
Fielder entered Saturday tied for the major-league lead with seven multi-hit games and was tied for the AL lead with 18 hits.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760