ARLINGTON -- Mitch Moreland hit .388 during Spring Training but went into Saturday's game with the Angels looking for his first hit. Moreland was 0-for-13 with a sacrifice fly in the Rangers' first four games.
"I just think at times he gets a little too big with his swing," manager Ron Washington said before Moreland hit a towering solo home run in the third inning against Tommy Hanson. "It seems like he's got to get back to shortening it. Spring Training is a totally different animal than the regular season."
Washington pinch-hit for Moreland in the eighth inning of Friday's home opener in a 2-2 game. Craig Gentry singled with one out off of left-hander Scott Downs so Washington sent right-handed hitter Jeff Baker to the plate.
"In that situation, Downs is tough on left-handers," Washington said. "Sometimes I'll pull [Moreland] and sometimes I won't pull him."
Downs has held left-handed hitters to a .215 average during his career. But Washington said he was only going to pinch-hit for Moreland if Gentry reached base. If there had been two outs and nobody on base, Washington would have left Moreland in the game. With Gentry on base, the Rangers had a chance to go ahead. With two outs and nobody on base, there was a greater chance of the game staying tied and Moreland being needed later in the game.
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.