SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It may be time for Mitch Moreland to stop having people ask about his right wrist. It looked good on Sunday afternoon at Surprise Stadium.
Moreland, who had surgery on the wrist at the end of November, crushed a fifth-inning home run in the Rangers' 6-1 loss to the Royals. Moreland, who grounded out in his first at-bat, crushed a 2-0 pitch up onto the grass beyond the Rangers' bullpen in right field.
"The wrist is good," Moreland said. "I've stayed on the same program all spring, haven't done anything different and it's been good."
Moreland hit the home run with his hands. That is significant. The wrist bothered him so much in the second half of last season that Moreland was forced to change his batting approach. He tried to cheat.
That means he tried to start his swing sooner and use more of his body to generate power. That kept him from staying back, seeing the pitch longer and using his hands to generate bat speed. He didn't battle pitchers the way he did when he was healthy and the difference was drastic.
Moreland had a .381 on-base percentage and a .517 slugging percentage in his first 55 games, and a .279 on-base percentage with a .347 slugging percentage in his final 80 games.
"The main thing is seeing pitches and working counts," Moreland said. "I got away from that last year. I want to get back to my game of fighting pitchers."
Manager Ron Washington said he never thought about shutting down Moreland in the second half of the season last year.
"He's a pro," Washington said. "He's a battler. We just hope he's healthy. If he's healthy and has no problems with his wrist, we look for him to do great things this year."