Moreland in Rangers' opening nine for first time

Moreland in Rangers' opening nine for first time

HOUSTON -- Sunday night marked Mitch Moreland's third Opening Day with the Rangers but the first time he was in the starting lineup. This was also the first time in three years the Rangers have faced a right-hander in the season opener.

They went against Jon Lester of the Red Sox in 2011 and John Danks with the White Sox last season, so Mike Napoli started at first base. Moreland did not get off the bench for either game. The Astros had right-hander Bud Norris on the mound Sunday night, although the Rangers no longer consider Moreland a platoon player.

"I'm looking forward to it," Moreland said. "I've had the opportunity to be on the team for Opening Day, but I have never had the opportunity to start. It's something new so it should be fun.

"We've been playing for two months, it seems like, but it is Opening Day so it gets you fired up and ready to go. So I'm going to try and have fun and enjoy it."

Moreland finished 0-for-4 from the eighth spot in the Rangers' 8-2 loss.

Other Opening Day lineup notes:

• Lance Berkman is the 13th designated hitter in the last 16 years for the Rangers on Opening Day. Since Mickey Tettleton started at DH in 1995-97, only Rafael Palmeiro (1999-2000), Frank Catalanotto (2002, 2007) and Michael Young (2011-12) have started there on two Opening Days.

• Elvis Andrus started his fifth straight Opening Day at shortstop. He ties Toby Harrah (1972-76) and Young (2004-08) for most Opening Day starts for the Rangers at the position.

• Nelson Cruz made his fifth straight Opening Day start in right field, the most since Ruben Sierra started in six straight from 1987-92. Juan Gonzalez had five Opening Day starts in right field but never more than two in a row at the position.

• Ian Kinsler made his seventh Opening Day start. That's the most for a second baseman and tied for the ninth most in club history. Young holds the record with 11 Opening Day starts before being traded to the Phillies this past winter. Kinsler missed Opening Day in 2010 because he was on the disabled list with a sprained ankle.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.