SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Mitch Moreland's role with the Texas Rangers immediately changed when they acquired Prince Fielder in a trade early in the offseason.
There was even some uncertainty then if Moreland, one of their longest-tenured position players, would still be with the Rangers after starting a team-high 211 games the past two seasons at first base, Fielder's primary position.
Texas kept Moreland, and he has spent most of his time so far in spring training working with the outfielders. There has been limited work at first base, and he will also get plenty of turns as the designated hitter.
"I'm just trying to get acclimated to a couple of different positions and do some things different this year," Moreland said.
Moreland started in right field for a Cactus League game Friday, a day after being the designated hitter in the spring opener.
Fielder has played a majors-best 505 consecutive games, and been at first base for at least 151 games in all eight of his full major league seasons. But manager Ron Washington expects to get Fielder a few days off the field while in the lineup as the DH, when Moreland can fill in at first.
Moreland can also play the corner outfield spots when Shin-Soo Choo or Alex Rios get a day off or take the DH spot. Moreland has played 45 career games in the outfield, and was an everyday outfielder at Triple-A before getting to the majors. The left-hander was even a pitcher in college.
"Mitch has done a good job with his attitude. He's enjoying what he's doing," Washington said. "I don't see anything different that would say that it wouldn't work, what he has to do. And he's around a group of guys that he love and trust, and all he has to do is just do his job. ... I'll give him the opportunity to take care of that."