Moreland replaces Davis on roster after debut
First baseman notches two hits in first Major League game
ARLINGTON -- Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland made his Major League debut Thursday night in a 7-3 win over the A's -- and did enough to keep his spot on the roster.After going 2-for-4 with two singles, the Rangers opted to send first baseman Chris Davis back to Triple-A Oklahoma City. He may remain there until second baseman Ian Kinsler comes off the disabled list. The Rangers may try the recently-acquired Jorge Cantu in his place until he can return. After that, Moreland will likely serve in a platoon with the right-handed hitter. "It was pretty nerve-racking," Moreland said. "I was just trying to go up there and relax a little bit. After those first couple pitches, and seeing them, it really helped me out." Manager Ron Washington said liked what he saw out of his rookie. "We know what the kid is capable of doing. He's not scared," Washington said. "And as long as he's not scared, we'll be all right." Added outfielder David Murphy: "It's good when we're going one through nine. Mitch is here for a reason. He's a great hitter, has a great approach and he showed that tonight." Moreland had seven friends and family members in attendance, including both of his parents and his girlfriend. "It's the best feeling in the world. You dream of this as a kid growing up," Moreland said before the game. "Since I could walk, this is what I wanted to do. I've been fortunate enough to get the opportunity and get this chance to play the game I love." Moreland, who hit .289 with 12 home runs and 65 RBIs for Oklahoma City, is a player that Washington likes. "He swung the bat well down there, plays good defense. He's a player," Washington said. "When we decided what we had to do when we knew we weren't going to have Kinsler, we went down there and got the best player in the infield. It just happened to be Moreland." And that's part of the reason Washington quickly inserted him into the lineup. Moreland, who first heard the news from Triple-A manager Bobby Jones, said he's happy to be here -- no matter how long or short his stay may be. "I don't know if it's even sunk in yet," Moreland said. "I felt like I was smiling all the way down here driving. It's a dream come true and I'm going to take it in as best I can." And after Moreland finished his night, he was doused in the face with the customary shaving cream. "It was the best tasting shaving cream I've ever had," Moreland said with a laugh.
Rangers playing Kinsler's groin injury safe
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are feeling the after-effect of placing second baseman Ian Kinsler on the disabled list with a strained left groin.Manager Ron Washington opted to start Joaquin Arias at second base Thursday against the Athletics. Andres Blanco will also see time at the position. "Whoever gets hot, I'm going to ride that hot," Washington said. "Last time, Joaquin got hot. I'll keep them both engaged." And while Arias hit seventh Thursday against the A's, outfielder Josh Hamilton slid into Kinsler's usual three-hole in the lineup while Nelson Cruz moved up to fifth. "We don't have Kinsler, so I'll put Hamilton back and try to get his bat up there at the plate as possibly as we can. Now Cruz can slip behind [Vladimir] Guerrero," Washington said. It's a move that Washington said could potentially stick for the remainder of the season, but he noted that there's no way to tell right now. "It could stick until Kinsler comes back. It could end up being [that] the rest of the year. I don't know, it's hard to call right now," Washington said. "When Kinsler comes back, he may need time to get himself together. So he may need to go down to the bottom of the order." Washington said that Kinsler could likely still play instead of making an appearance on the disabled list, but he felt having Kinsler was more important down the stretch run than right now. Entering Thursday's game against the A's, the Rangers held a 7 1/2-game lead in the American League West. "It's been going on for a while. It's been going on since before the All-Star break," Kinsler said of his injury. "It finally got to the point where I just needed to shut it down for 15 days." "We have him down the stretch," Washington said. "We certainly don't want to get caught down the stretch like we did last year without Michael [Young], Hamilton, without Kinsler. "He was disappointed. But we need him to play. We certainly don't need him to go out there with a strain, and it becomes a pull and it's worse. This way, we can get the 15 days and it's over with. At this time of the year, your body is broken down. It can be easy for something to get worse." And while Washington believes Kinsler could play right now, he still thinks it's too serious of an injury to test. "Anytime you strain a groin it's serious. That's why we decided to go to the DL," Washington said. "He's been playing with it. Yesterday, he just had some soreness there, so we decided to get an MRI. He said he's been feeling it for three days. But he's been able to with it. He probably could wrap it and go play. But this is too important. " Added Kinsler: "It was never really intense. It was just kind of gradually getting worse. I don't want to pull it or tear it or anything like that."
Hunter, Feldman flipped in weekend rotation
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are flipping pitchers Tommy Hunter and Scott Feldman in the rotation.Feldman was scheduled to start the opener against the Angels on Friday with Hunter throwing on Saturday, but manager Ron Washington opted to switch them. But Washington also said that Rich Harden, who gave up no earned runs on two hits with 10 strikeouts on a rehab assignment in Triple-A, is preparing like he could start Saturday. The Rangers still haven't made a decision on what Harden's next course of action will be. "We moved Hunter up to Friday and it will stay like that," Washington said. "Still haven't made a decision on Rich yet. We've got time and we're going to take as much time as we can." Washington said that moving either Feldman or Harden to the bullpen would be an "option."
Moreland became the third Rangers player from the 2007 Draft to play in the Major Leagues, joining Julio Borbon and Hunter. The only other team to have that many players in the Majors from that Draft is the Blue Jays (Brett Cecil, Brad Mills and Marc Rzepczynski). ... The pitching staff entered Thursday's contest with a 2.55 ERA in 13 games since the All-Star break. ... The Rangers avoided a shutout Wednesday with a ninth-inning RBI single, keeping alive their 64-game run without being blanked. The Rangers' streak is tied with the Rockies for the longest in the Majors this season.
Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.