Mitch Moreland to play 1B in Game 3

Updated: October 3, 2011, 10:48 PM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Mitch Moreland will find himself at first base against Tampa Bay left-handed starter David Price in Monday's Game 3.

That's a change from how Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington approached Game 1 against left-handed pitcher Matt Moore. Then, Michael Young played first base with Yorvit Torrealba at designated hitter. But against Price, Washington is going to go with Moreland. The 26-year-old hit .234 against lefties this season.

"He's swinging the bat and feeling good," Washington said.

The move is more than just a chance to see if Moreland's swing can continue in Game 3. Moreland had a great defensive game on Saturday, too, making a diving stop to prevent a run in the sixth inning of a tight game and doing a nice job of picking balls out of the dirt.

This change is similar to what Washington did in last year's playoffs. In fact, after Moreland started swinging the bat well in the 2010 ALDS, he was at first base against Price in Game 5 (instead of Jorge Cantu, who had played against most left-handed starters down the stretch). Moreland went 1 for 4 in that game.

Moreland was struggling down the stretch and didn't get as much playing time as he normally would because Washington wanted to play Nelson Cruz at DH to ease him into the lineup with his hamstring issues.

Washington said he'll also insert Craig Gentry back into the lineup. Gentry normally plays the outfield against left-handed starters.

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.

Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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