<
>

Rapid Reaction: Mitch Moreland homers

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas first baseman Mitch Moreland belted a 2-0 pitch from Kansas City right-handed pitcher Sean O'Sullivan over the Rangers' bullpen and onto the grass hill in right field Sunday.

Moreland showed quick bat speed and got his hands around nicely during the Rangers' 6-1 spring-opening loss to the Royals. So how many times in the second half of 2011 did his balky wrist allow him to do that?

"There weren't many," Moreland said. "I felt loose there. There's still times like the first at-bat where I had a little body in it with the swings I took. It's always a work in progress, especially here. That's why we're here, to get those things out and be ready for the season."

Moreland was also able to see six pitches in his first at-bat before grounding out to first.

"I want to get back to staying square, not using as much body and seeing the ball better," Moreland said. "I've always taken pride in my strike zone discipline and I got away from that last year and that's something I'm going to try to work on in spring training."

Churning out ground balls: Scott Feldman, who said his cutter and sinker are finding their form again, looked good. He pitched the third and fourth innings, getting a chance against Royals regulars. The first batter he faced advanced on an error, but Feldman just kept generating ground balls. Five of his six outs were on ground balls, including a double play ball to Billy Butler and easy grounders to second and short from Jeff Francoeur and Salvador Perez.

"He pitched very well," manager Ron Washington said. "He came inside to lefties with that cutter and had good sink on the ball."

Early errors: Ian Kinsler had two errors in the first five innings. He made a low throw to first in the third inning to put the lead off runner on base (he didn't end up scoring). Then he tried to backhand a ball toward second and it went off his glove, allowing two runs to score.

"He makes that one play 99 out of 100 times," Washington said. "It just happens."

Rare 0-2 homer: While Colby Lewis allowed an AL-high 35 homers in 2011, he only gave up one homer on an 0-2 count. Lewis surrendered a homer to Butler on Sunday on an 0-2 count.

Nice off-speed stuff: Miguel De Los Santos, pitching the ninth inning against Kansas City regulars, featured nice off-speed stuff to complement his fastball. The hitters were off-balance against that changeup particularly, but the curveball had nice movement as well.

Opening attendance record: The Rangers and Royals had 7,158 fans for the opening day of spring training, a record for the first home game of the spring season.

A decade in Surprise: Michael Young, who was the DH and hit sixth, is the only Texas major league player to have been in Surprise for all 10 spring trainings the club has had here. Others in the organization that have seen 10 springs in Surprise: bullpen coach Andy Hawkins (including one year with KC), Round Rock manager Bobby Jones, bullpen catcher Josh Frasier, GM Jon Daniels, trainers Jamie Reed and Kevin Harmon, clubhouse attendants Dave Bales and Chris Guth and travel director Chris Lyngos.

Surprise Hall of Famers: Young and Adrian Beltre were inducted to the Surprise Recreation Campus Hall of Fame before the game. Young received the Joan Shafer Award as the Surprise Recreation Campus player of the decade.