In light of all the injuries that have sacked the Texas Rangers over the past week, and especially the past two days, perhaps the biggest development during Monday’s 6-2 victory over Oakland was that Mitch Moreland played nine innings.
The Rangers’ primary designated hitter and fill-in at first base and in the outfield corners went 2 for 3 with two RBIs in his first Cactus League game since March 17 because of tightness in his left oblique muscle.
Both hits came against left-handed pitchers, a key for the lefty-hitting Moreland as he tries to secure a spot in the Opening Day lineup Monday against Philadelphia left-hander Cliff Lee.
“It’s significant that he has good at-bats against everybody,” manager Ron Washington said. “It is big that he’s handled left-handers, and it looks like that new approach he has, not stepping in the bucket, he’s staying in there pretty good.”
Moreland is batting .455 (5 for 11) against lefties this spring and .272 overall. He returned to game action Sunday night and collected nine at-bats as he hopped between Triple A and Double A games.
He never felt like he had fallen behind because of the precaution shown with his oblique issue.
“I’m feeling good and need to finish up spring strong,” said Moreland, who played left field against the A’s. “I didn’t really feel like I got behind. It was a few days, and I stayed with my work. I didn’t miss a whole lot on the field other than the games.”
Left-hander Ryan Feierabend, a candidate to be the long reliever, started and tossed four scoreless innings for the Rangers, and Jason Frasor tossed a scoreless inning in the sixth and picked up his first victory of the spring.