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Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Mitch Moreland making big strides this spring

By Ron Matejko

Perhaps the player who has made the greatest impact this spring and showed the most improvement is Mitch Moreland.

Moreland entered spring training knowing the first-base job was his. He previously shared time on the corner, in part because of his struggles against left-handed pitching. He took extensive offseason batting practice against left-handers to work on that weakness, and it paid off during the spring.

Moreland excelled against both lefties and righties during the 2013 Cactus League season. He also hit the ball with power to all fields, ran the bases well and hit for average. His overall performance left an impression that Moreland is due for a breakout season in 2013.

"He's moving better, staying inside the ball and hitting to the opposite field, which is going to be key for him to stay consistent," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He worked hard during the winter to have good at-bats against lefties, and I think he has, so he'll see more lefties."

Moreland entered Wednesday's game ranked among the Cactus League leaders in several offensive categories.

In 21 games, Moreland leads the Rangers with four home runs and 13 RBIs. He owned an impressive .400 batting average and is seven for his past 14 with runners in scoring position.