After a rough start to the 2013 season, it didn't take too long for Mitch Moreland to make the Texas Rangers think twice about replacing him as the team's first baseman like they did this winter when they toyed with the idea of moving Ian Kinsler to first base to replace the struggling Moreland and allow super-prospect Jurickson Profar to have an everyday role as the team's second baseman.
From April 22 to June 5, Moreland's final game before hitting the disabled list with a hamstring injury, the fourth-year first baseman started 38 games and hit .336 with a .381 on-base percentage and a .643 slugging percentage with nine homers and 15 doubles to go with 23 RBIs.
In other words, Moreland was proving to be a more-than-servicable option at first base for the Rangers.
But since his stay on the 15-day disabled list, Moreland hasn't been the same.
In his 31 starts after coming off the DL, Moreland hit for a .152/.218/.232 slash, which is nothing short of disgusting for a power-hitting corner infielder.
But recently, Moreland is starting to show some positive signs at the plate, including his lined shot over the right-field wall on Tuesday night that tied the game 1-1 before the Rangers and Alexi Ogando let things get out of hand.
His last nine starts, which have come over 14 games with Jeff Baker getting some starts at first base against left-handed pitching, Moreland is starting to rake again. He's hitting .344/.436/.625 with three homers, six RBIs and more walks than strikeouts.
If Moreland can get back to swinging the bat like he was in May, the Rangers will be great shape offensively. Back then, Moreland was crushing lefties, as well, and if he could get back to that point it would allow Baker to be a highly effective bench bat who could start at DH from time to time, as well.
The Rangers have long wanted Moreland to become their everyday first baseman, and he's running out of time to do it.