The Texas Rangers have dealt with the injury bug lately, but the major injuries have been limited to the pitching staff. While Josh Hamilton has dealt with sickness and a hospital stay and Nelson Cruz had Achilles issues, position players have stayed off the disabled list. That is most likely going to change after Mitch Moreland strained his hamstring trying to beat out a double-play ball in Tuesday's 7-3 victory over the San Diego Padres.
Moreland started the year slowly, but for the most part has found his stroke and has hit very similar to the way he did in 2010 and the first half of 2011. He is currently hitting .272 with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs. Moreland mostly sees playing time against right-handed pitchers and the Rangers are unlikely to make any drastic roster changes due to the injury and expected DL stint. They already have Mike Napoli, Michael Young and Brandon Snyder who can play first and there is not an obvious call-up at Triple-A Round Rock.
Most have wondered if this would mean that the Rangers would call up Mike Olt from Double-A Frisco. Olt is hitting .312 with 20 home runs and 58 RBIs in 66 games. Olt has spent the majority of time this season at his natural position of third base, but is expected to spend more time at first during the second half of the season. That is if he continues to spend time at Frisco, but things could change if he is promoted to Round Rock, which should happen before long.
Olt has picked up where he left off in the Arizona Fall League. He completely destroyed pitching in the thin Arizona air, but has also shown that Double-A pitching was not going to be the challenge for him that many expected. While it would be a blast to see Olt at the big league level and there is a great chance he will be seen in Arlington this season that will most likely not be now.
The Rangers have plenty of bats available and replacing the left-handed hitting Moreland with the right-handed hitting Olt will not really accomplish much. If Olt were a lefty the possibility would be greater, but Olt would be more likely to see time against left-handed pitchers when Napoli or Young is already at first base. Bringing Olt up now would not generally relate to at bats which he can continue to get with Frisco. The Rangers have also had so many issues with the pitching staff that they could use an extra pitcher or they may just allow Leonys Martin to stay up once Roy Oswalt is activated to give them a left-handed bat off the bench during Moreland's absence.
John Bowman is a lifelong baseball and Texas Rangers fan that loves to ponder the deeper aspects of the game. Some of his first baseball memories involve Arlington Stadium nachos, Charlie Hough's knuckleball, dirt on Pete Incaviglia's uniform and the voices of Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel as he fell asleep.
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