Mitch Moreland gets the night off with Prince Fielder at first
ARLINGTON — Prince Fielder was back in the Texas Rangers' lineup Monday after two days on the bench to clear his mind, a process manager Jeff Banister calls "unplugging" a struggling player.
Mitch Moreland, also struggling, was out of the lineup in the opener of a four-game series against the Houston Astros, but Banister said that he wasn't unplugging Moreland.
Moreland was on the bench against right-hander Mike Fiers for rest after logging 17 consecutive games at first base. He was 5 for 56 (.089) during the stretch to drop his average to .206.
"It’s part of the game," Moreland said. "You hit some balls into the shift, hit some stuff hard, and they don’t fall. We’ve still got four months left in the season. There's still a good chunk of the season left. Just got to go up and continue to hit them hard and try to have a good approach. You know, eventually they start falling, and that’s kind of where we’re at right now."
Meanwhile, infielder Jurickson Profar, whose hot bat is making all this plugging and unplugging possible, worked out before the game at first base, a position he has never played at any level.
Banister said that it won't take long for Profar to adapt to the new position because he has experience on the right side of the infield.
Profar said that he doesn't find the position to be particularly challenging.
"Nothing makes me nervous," Profar said. "There's nothing challenge. I just asked them to remind me on the positioning on the cutoffs."
Fielder was the starter at first base, only his third game this season in the field. Banister was hopeful that getting Fielder more involved in the game would jump-start his bat.
He was batting .187 with only three homers.