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LAA@TEX: Moreland belts a solo homer in the eighth

Rangers manager Ron Washington is happy to watch first baseman Mitch Moreland grow as a Major League player right in front of his eyes.

Moreland's opponents, especially the opposing pitchers, are probably not as thrilled.

On Friday, Moreland and the Rangers will play host to the Royals in the first of three games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers, who were off on Thursday, dropped two of three to Angels to begin their 10-game homestand, while the Royals head to Texas fresh off a dramatic comeback win over Cleveland to a earn a four-game split.

Moreland will be rested. He'll also be ready.

"It's nothing I didn't see last year," Washington said. "He's starting to get at-bats. He's starting to grind his at-bats out. He's starting to make good contact."

Moreland, 25, has hit safely in 11 of 13 games this season and sports a .313 batting average. He hit .255 in 47 games during the regular season last year but made a splash in the postseason by hitting .348 in 15 games, including a home run in the World Series.

"I see a guy growing every day he plays baseball," Washington said. "He doesn't let days that aren't right effect the next day. His approach is his approach. He's a grinder."

The Royals will send Jeff Francis to the mound on Friday. Francis has pitched well in his four starts, posting a 3.00 ERA, but has not received much run support. He's pitched into the seventh inning in all four games.

The Rangers will counter with Derek Holland, who lost to the Yankees in his last start after yielding five runs in 7 2/3 frames while matching a career high with 118 pitches. Overall, Holland has quality starts in two of his three outings, tossing at least six innings in each.

Holland is 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA in two games (one start) in his career against the Royals.

Royals: Tejeda on the mend
• Reliever Robinson Tejeda, on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, reported no aftereffects to his throwing session on Tuesday. He threw 20 or 25 pitches and is not sure when he will return.

• Catcher Jason Kendall (right shoulder) hopes to return by mid-May or perhaps June and is aiming toward a Minor League rehabilitation assignment. He wants to be ready to play every day when returns.

Rangers: Young on a roll
• Michael Young extended his hit streak to 11 games with a two-out RBI double in the sixth inning on Wednesday. He's hitting .409 (18-for-44) with six doubles and seven RBIs during that stretch.

• Rangers right-hander Brandon Webb faced hitters two days ahead of schedule on Wednesday, and said he saw some improvement, The club is deciding when to send him to the team's complex in Arizona for extended spring training.

Worth noting
• Rangers ace C.J. Wilson's third annual "Strike Out" bowling tournament to benefit patients of Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth took place Thursday night at the Splitsville Luxury Lanes and Dinner Lounge in Arlington.

• Rangers Minor League pitcher Eric Hurley, who was struck on the right side of the head by a comebacker on Monday, has a small skull fracture and moderate concussion. He has been released from the hospital in New Orleans.

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