The Rangers are left without a first baseman, as Mitch Moreland is scheduled to have reconstructive surgery on his left ankle Wednesday, and is expected to be sidelined for three months.
Moreland has been struggling with pain in his ankle since spring, but fought through the pain knowing the team needed him, even though he knew surgery was inevitable. Recently the pain became too much to bare, where Moreland struggled to even stand, so he made the decision to go under the knife.
“It’s been pretty tough” said Moreland. “I fought through it, even through spring, and had a couple ongoing issues with it. I’ve had two shots in it already, and the last one lasted for about five days. It’s to the point where I’m hurting the team and hurting myself. I tried to fight it off until the end of the year, and I can’t do it any more.”
With no first baseman available, Donnie Murphy will make his second career appearance at the position Sunday afternoon. Chris Gimenez has played some first, and could earn some playing time at the spot as well. Murphy was unaware of his new role as starting first baseman until the media informed him, but believes he can adapt and do what he needs to do to help the team.
“I’m not a first baseman” said Murphy. “The angle, the footwork around the bases, it’s different from what I’m used to. But taking ground balls, working on coming off the base, I’m comfortable now and I’m fine over there.”
Moreland will be the eighteenth member of the Rangers to go on the disabled list, once the move is made, and it’s barely June. It’s unfortunate, but the Rangers need to stay focused if they want any shot at contention, something manager Ron Washington continues to enforce.
“I’ve still got 100 games left” said Washington. “Just trying to make the the guys I do have believe they can and just go to war.”
For now, the Rangers will be forced to go to war with Murphy, not Moreland, at first base. General manager Jon Daniels is now evaluating all of the teams options, and trying to get the best fit for the position as soon as he can.
“We’re looking at some of our internal and external options including possibly some guys in the minor leagues or even the big leagues to get to work over there” said Daniels. “Its hard to put your finger on it. It’s been a little bit of everything. We’ve had ankles, we’ve had backs, we’ve had elbows, we’ve had legs, shin bones. I have not really been able to connect the dots.”
It'd be nice if Moreland's injury was the last setback for the Rangers, but the way this season has been going, that seems unlikely.