FRISCO, Texas – Mitch Moreland isn’t hitting the refresh button on Twitter or scouring the Internet at all hours looking for Rangers offseason news.
He knows that if the club goes out and gets another big bat, it could impact his playing time at first base depending on how the dominos fall. But the laid-back Moreland isn’t concerned about any of that.
“I really haven’t kept up with it a whole lot, to tell you the truth,” said Moreland, before signing autographs at Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco on Saturday. “I’ve just been trying to take care of my business and be ready to go when spring training gets here and helping the team out.”
Moreland, like the rest of the Rangers, has the utmost respect for Michael Young and expects the team leader to be taking grounders and working out at first. Moreland says he’s just fine with that.
“I think this team has one goal in mind and we had that same goal last year,” Moreland said. “We fell a few games short, but we know what it takes to get there now. As a leader you see what Michael Young has done moving positions again and it just shows the mentality and the way this team is. I just want to be out there and help them any way I can. If it is with Mike playing first and me rooting him on or whatever I got to do, I'll be able to do it.”
But what about having to possibly compete with Young at first base should the club sign another power bat as a DH?
“I'm controlling what I can control,” Moreland said. “I've been working hard and trying to put myself in the best position possible coming into spring training. I want to go out and show them what I can do. If they choose to go another way, I'll be there when they need me.”
As for whether Moreland would need to show Young some pointers at first base, Moreland replied: “I don't think Mike needs too many tips. He's a heck of a player. I imagine whatever he does he picks up on it pretty quick.”
Moreland admits that his play in the postseason was a huge confidence booster heading into the offseason. While the Rangers as a team hit poorly in the World Series, Moreland hit .462 with a memorable Game 3 homer and three RBIs. In fact, Moreland got better as the playoffs went along. He hit just .200 against Tampa Bay, but found his stroke against the Yankees batting .389 with three RBIs.
"It was definitely big,” said Moreland about his postseason showing. His hometown of Amory, Miss., celebrated his accomplishment with Mitch Moreland Day last month (Tommy Hunter joked that a group of Moreland's teammates were going to go, but couldn't get hotel rooms). “It set the mood for my offseason. I knew what I needed to do to come back and be ready to go. I went home, took a little bit of a break and got started and tried to get ready and now I'm counting down the days.”
One of Moreland’s main goals is to improve defensively. Manager Ron Washington said after the 2010 season that Moreland was becoming a better defensive first baseman with every game and Moreland wants to build on that.
“You can always be better at what you're doing,” Moreland said. “I've been working hard on agility and stuff and hopefully it will pay off. I know I'll be spending some early work days out on the spring training fields and I'm looking forward to that too.”
Moreland certainly has the right attitude about his situation. He’s entering spring training confident and is simply focused on what he has to do to be the best first baseman he can.
“I just feel like I'm going to work hard enough and do what I have to do to be a part of this team,” Moreland said.