Mitch Moreland rejoins Rangers
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers announced Monday that first baseman and outfielder Mitch Moreland will rejoin the team for their series against the Los Angeles Angels after a stint on the 15-day disabled list. The Rangers optioned outfielder Leonys Martin to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Moreland on the active roster.
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Moreland was placed on the disabled list on June 22 after straining his left hamstring while trying to beat out a throw to first base against the San Diego Padres on June 19.
"I feel great," Moreland said. "I've been ready for a couple days and I'm ready to get back out there. I think the hamstring's kind of a nagging injury, so I do have to be careful with it. But I definitely tested it a couple times and had no problems with it at all."
Moreland played five games on rehab assignments with the Round Rock Express and Frisco Roughriders, combining to go 5-for-19 with two doubles, an RBI, and four runs scored in three starts at first base and two at DH. Moreland said his doubles were the best test of whether or not his hamstring was ready.
"I was able to stretch it out a little bit and see how it would feel coming around the bases and it went well," he said.
Moreland has a .272 batting average with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs in 55 games with the Rangers this year. He also leads the team in starts at first base with 38. Manager Ron Washington said he is happy to have Moreland back.
"I'm not looking for Moreland to come here and give us a boost, I'm just looking for him to come here and be what he was before he went down: a player that can make a difference, that's it," Washington said. "I know him coming back here after getting time down there in the minor leagues, it might take him a while to make the adjustment. We understand that. But it's nice to have his presence in our lineup because we know he can make a difference. But I certainly don't want him thinking that. It's nice to have him back."
Moreland will start at first base and bat ninth for the Rangers in the first game of their four-game series against their AL West rivals in the Angels. Moreland doesn't consider himself the missing puzzle piece, but he said he has high hopes that the Rangers' offense can start playing more consistently soon.
"Everybody in here knows what we're capable of as a team," Moreland said. "You're going to get through those (slumps) throughout the year. I'm just happy to be back with this group of guys and get back playing and help out any way I can."
Clint Foster is a contributor to ESPNDallas.com.