<
>

Since homer, Mitch Moreland's bat quiet

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Detroit Tigers have a gaggle of right-handers lined up to start in the ALCS, which should increase the chances that Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland will probably see his name on the lineup card.

Moreland, however, isn't ready to guarantee anything.

"If I'm in there, I'll be ready to go," Moreland said. "If I'm not, I'll be ready off the bench. Either way."

He is 1-for-3 with a double in his career against Tigers Game 1 starter Justin Verlander.

Remember, this a guy who didn't play a lot in September because of his slumping bat. He didn't get the start in Game 1 of the ALDS against lefty Matt Moore, but Rangers manager Ron Washington went with him in Game 2 against right-hander James Shields. Moreland delivered with an eighth-inning homer off righty reliever Brandon Gomes.

Moreland hasn't come out of the lineup since despite going 0-for-7 since that homer, which stands as his lone hit in 10 at-bats in his three starts. One reason he's stayed in -- even when the Rays started lefty David Price in Game 3 -- is his glove. Moreland is the team's best defensive option at first over Michael Young and Mike Napoli.

Still, if Washington loses faith in Moreland's bat, he has the option of playing Young at first or he can use Napoli with Yorvit Torrealba behind the plate.

"This is what we play for. You go through the whole season with one goal in my mind," Moreland said. "It's been a team effort all year and I just want to do my part and be able to contribute any way I could just to help this team win."