FRISCO, Texas -- Mitch Moreland wasn’t sure where he was going to be for the 2014 season when he got the news that the Texas Rangers had traded for Prince Fielder and named him the starting first baseman.
“The way it’s gone, I’m still not sure,” Moreland admitted on Sunday afternoon, moments before a long line of Rangers fans worked their way inside Academy Sports & Outdoors in Frisco to get Moreland’s autograph. “They’ve definitely made a lot of moves and have been very active this offseason. From what I know right now, I’m still here and still a Texas Ranger and happy to be here and looking forward to the season.”
Well, according to one general manager, Moreland isn’t likely to go anywhere. Brewers GM Doug Melvin, according to the Journal-Sentinel this weekend, said: "Texas, at this point, is not willing to talk about (Mitch) Moreland.”
Moreland said he talked to assistant general manager Thad Levine and manager Ron Washington shortly after the trade and was told that his role would be changing. Moreland knows he could be inserted in the lineup at first base, outfield or designated hitter.
“I’m just going to try to go out and prepare for anything and everything,” Moreland said. “I’ll work at those spots when they tell me at spring training and prepare myself as best I can and be ready for the season.”
Moreland, 28, is coming off a season he said was filled with “ups and downs.” He hit .266 in the first half with 13 homers and 37 RBIs. But after a hamstring injury slowed him a bit, Moreland never really found his rhythm again. He batted just .183 after the All-Star break, with 10 homers and 23 RBIs.
“I struggled a little bit in the second half, but that’s part of the game. It’s going to happen. I’m going to try to learn from it and try to get better from it.”
Moreland noted that he’s played plenty of outfield in the minors as the club had Chris Davis and Justin Smoak in the pipeline at first base. He played 83 games in the outfield (80 of them in right) in 2010 at Triple-A and a fair amount of outfield in 2008 and 2009 at the lower levels as well.
“With a little bit of work, I can get back out there and hopefully pick up on it quick,” Moreland said.
Moreland admits that one adjustment he’s making this offseason is not to overwork things and do too much.
“It’s tough for me because I feel like that’s what I’ve had to do to get here,” Moreland said. “I had to work to get here. At times I probably go to the extreme with that. It’s something I’ve kind of worked on this offseason -- more quality than quantity when I’m going about my business.”