Mitch Moreland parlayed his recent hot streak at the plate as a designated hitter, and mainly a pinch-hitter, into a start in the field on Monday night as the Texas Rangers opened a series in Houston against the Astros.
Moreland's start in left field was just his fourth start in the field this season, as he's served in a DH role for much of the year with Prince Fielder manning first base the majority of the time. Entering the season, Rangers manager Ron Washington had said Moreland would see some time in right field, as well as left field, though he wouldn't play left in the Rangers' home park because of the dimensions.
Minute Maid Park in Houston has a small left field, and Washington saw it as the perfect opportunity to get him a start in left field and use Shin-Soo Choo as the DH. Moreland, who entered Monday's game hitting .301 on the season with a 13-for-33 stretch over the last couple of weeks, went 1-for-3 and scored a run in the game. He also committed an error that ended up being harmless.
It was clear Moreland was a little bit lost in left in just his second career start there, but the more places Moreland can play in the field, the easier it'll be for him to get in the lineup, and when he's swinging the bat the way he is now, the Rangers want to get him in as much as possible.