The news out of Arlington yesterday was devastating for Texas Rangers fans—Mitch Moreland was to have reconstructive ankle surgery and potentially be out for the remainder of the season. The battered and broken team may have had an unusual stroke of luck, though, as various reports are coming out that Moreland will not elect to have the surgery, and Texas may only lose him for a few weeks. Either way, another Rangers player will have to cover first base while Moreland, who was mainly a designated hitter until neck surgery spelled the end of the season for Prince Fielder, recovers.
On Sunday, that someone was Donnie Murphy, who was also the final out of the game in the 3-2 loss to the Indians. Murphy has hit an unimpressive .220 over 35 games this season, with half as many runs and RBIs as Moreland, even though Moreland has only played half again as many games (52). Murphy, who has been part of the rotating cast at second base this season, has a better fielding percentage, though this is only because he has zero errors to Moreland’s three. The plain numbers are much more favorable toward Mitch, with 162 putouts on 180 total chances versus 51 on 103 for Donnie.
Murphy will not be the only option to cover first base for the Rangers while Moreland is out, according to General Manager Ron Washington, who is resigned to put “whatever [they] have” out on the field while they weather yet another unfortunate injury. Jim Adduci might have been a good choice to reactivate, but Adduci reinjured his finger in Round Rock on Sunday and will need to be reevaluated before he can be called back up.
Both Rangers’ catchers could be added to the rotation at first base, as Robinson Chirinos and Chris Gimenez each have experience with the position. This move would require adding a third catcher to the roster, however, and the likely option there of course is J.P. Arencibia, who was optioned to Triple-A in favor of Gimenez back in mid-May. Arencibia is currently batting .275 in Round Rock with 12 runs and 12 RBIs over 19 games.
Other options would take Texas outside of their organization. Players such as the Pirates’ Gaby Sanchez and Philadelphia’s John Mayberry, Jr., are reportedly available, but such moves might cost Jon Daniels more than he can afford. Meanwhile, the Rangers’ offense continues to struggle, especially at home, and little to no help has come from the one position that they had expected to dominate at the plate this season. Their current home stand has resulted in a disappointing two wins to four losses, with three games left to play in Arlington before they head out on the road again.
The Rangers have several options to cover first base for Mitch Moreland, who will miss anywhere from three weeks to three months, but the quality of those options leaves much to be desired. Texas now has 12 players on the disabled list, more than any other team in the league. If Rougned Odor’s shoulder injury from Sunday turns out to be not-so-minor, Texas could be in for a very rough time for the final two-thirds of the season.
Commentary by Christina Jones
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer Covering the Texas Rangers
Follow Christina’s Coverage in the Rangers Roundup