Spring training preview: DH

January, 27, 2014
1/27/14
8:00
AM CT
Note: Spring training will arrive before you know it. To get you ready, we'll take a look at every position between now and February, when pitchers and catchers report to Surprise, Ariz.

MorelandAP Photo/Tony GutierrezMitch Moreland is in line to get most of the Rangers' at-bast at designated hitter.

Today's position: Designated hitter



At this point in the offseason, manager Ron Washington will have the ability to rotate his DH spot a bit in 2014. I say "at this point" because the offseason is not over and the Rangers could certainly end up adding a bat. But if they stick with the lineup they've got, Mitch Moreland becomes the leading candidate to get the most at-bats as the DH.

Moreland was the club's regular first baseman in 2013, but the trade for Prince Fielder changes all of that for 2014. The club has insisted that Fielder is the everyday first baseman, meaning Moreland would get more of his at-bats as DH and perhaps some in right field when he's not filling in every once in a while for Fielder.

It will be interesting to see how Washington utilizes the DH spot. He worked hard last season to get some time off for his regulars, and an argument could be made that it helped give them the energy needed to win seven straight to end the regular season and at least stay in the hunt for the postseason.

OUTLOOK: With the DH spot not defined, Fielder could get some at-bats there with Moreland, the better defensive player, at first. But Washington could rotate his infielders, including Adrian Beltre and his hamstrings, through that position as well. It's a way to give players half-days off without forcing them to sit for the whole game.

But it's also a spot that general manager Jon Daniels and his crew could attempt to address if there's a free agent bat that makes sense on a short-term deal. One name you'll hear is Kendrys Morales, who is still looking for a job in late January. But there are others, too. The Rangers still have time to survey the market and see what's out there. We'll see what happens.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 19 77 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182