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Looking for spark, Wash bats Moreland No. 2

Looking for spark, Wash bats Moreland No. 2

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Looking for spark, Wash bats Moreland No. 2

ARLINGTON -- Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland was moved up to the No. 2 spot in the lineup for Monday's series opener against the Yankees, with manager Ron Washington trying to generate some production from that spot in the order.

The Rangers went into Monday's game with a collective .227 batting average and a .305 slugging percentage from the No. 2 spot, the lowest of any team in the American League. The club's .279 on-base percentage was the second lowest in the AL. Texas' No. 2 batters hit .284 with a .345 OBP last season.

From 2003-12, Rangers No. 2 hitters had a .293 batting average, the highest of any AL team. Their .450 slugging percentage was the also the highest in that span.

Moreland batted in the No. 2 spot on May 24 against the Mariners and went 2-for-5 with two runs scored in a 9-5 Rangers victory. "I just decided to put another candidate in there and hope it awakens him," Washington said.

Moreland, like just about everybody else in Texas' lineup, has been struggling lately. He was just 1-for-10 in last week's three losses to the Orioles and entered Monday hitting .193 with one home run and nine RBIs in 25 games since coming off the disabled list on June 21.

"I'm just trying to grind out at-bats and get something to hit," Moreland said. "I feel good. I'm just going up there and competing and getting a good pitch to hit and [looking to] square it up. Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn't."

Elvis Andrus normally hits second for the Rangers, but Washington has dropped him to the lower half of the order while the shortstop tries to get untracked from his season-long struggles.

"I just want him to have more time down there and relax him," Washington said. "I'll put him back up there at some point, but right now, I want to keep moving it around."

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

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