Moreland puts hamstring issues behind him
Serving as DH, slugger churns out career-high-tying five RBIs
CHICAGO -- Mitch Moreland has had issues with his right hamstring on more than one occasion this year, but the first baseman, who was back in the lineup Friday after missing Thursday's game, said the latest flare up is nothing serious.
And judging from his performance Friday night, he wasn't lying.
Moreland recorded his third career multi-home run game and tallied a career-high-tying five RBIs to lead the Rangers over the White Sox, 7-4. He's now 9-for-16 with two home runs and nine RBIs in his past four games and is hitting .280 with 16 home runs and 46 RBIs on the season.
"He was huge. Real huge," said Texas manager Ron Washington. "He's making better contact and not missing his pitches right now when they're giving it to him. I don't think he's trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark, I just think that's what happens. He can hit the baseball as well as anyone."
Washington said that keeping Moreland out of the field Friday night was simply a precautionary measure, and he didn't say when he would resume first-base duties. Moreland had similar soreness in his left hamstring that limited him to one pinch-hit at-bat in the Rangers' two-game trip to Chicago on May 16-17.
The skipper admitted that he also wants to be more careful with Moreland because of the amount of other injuries the team has battled through this season, including the current DL stints of Andres Blanco and Adrian Beltre, who is also dealing with hamstring problems.
"It's something that he's been managing, but once again, we've been losing people," Washington said. "I don't want to lose him. I want to make sure that it's to the point where he can manage it."
Beltre again takes BP, return on schedule
CHICAGO -- So far, everything has gone as planned in Adrian Beltre's most recent attempt to return from a strained left hamstring.
After taking a full batting-practice session and fielding ground balls before Thursday's finale against the Angels, Beltre took a lighter approach on Friday. He took another session of batting practice before the series opener with the White Sox, but otherwise worked indoors, sticking to the treadmill or stationary bicycle.
The Rangers' third baseman originally injured the hamstring while running to third base in a July 23 contest against the Blue Jays and aggravated the strain as he rounded first base while testing it out on Aug. 6. Manager Ron Washington said Friday that a decision has not been made on when Beltre will be turned loose on the basepaths.
"I don't know yet," Washington said. "It certainly won't be [Friday], but if there is baserunning this weekend, it would be [Saturday]. I'll find that out later on today or tonight."
Beltre is hitting .276 with 20 home runs and 76 RBIs this season, and played in each of the team's first 100 games prior to injuring the hamstring. Washington didn't give a target date for Beltre's return, but said he is still on course to return in late August or early September.
Rangers keeping eye on Ogando's innings
CHICAGO -- Rangers manager Ron Washington is hoping that Alexi Ogando's struggles over the past two starts have been blips on the radar, and nothing more.
At the same time, Washington knows that he has to keep a close eye on the first-year starter, who is scheduled to toss Saturday night's game against the White Sox. The young right-hander has seen his ERA increase from 2.10 on June 8 to its current 3.33 clip, which is the highest it's been this season. He's allowed eight hits in each of his past three starts, including his Aug. 9 outing against the Mariners, in which he allowed six earned runs and lasted just 2 2/3 innings.
"There's always a little bit of concern when people are treading water and he's never been before," Washington said. "We're certainly paying attention and hoping that whenever we have an opportunity to cut him off, we're gonna cut him off."
While Washington said the plan for now is to simply keep an eye on his innings and go to his bullpen earlier if he has a big lead, but a time may come when he feels it's necessary to work in some extra rest days.
"If we feel like there's a point where we need to skip him a turn, we're going to skip him a turn," Washington said. "But when's that going to happen? I can't sit right here today and say that. But that is something that we're looking over and talking about."
Rangers taking quick turnaround in stride
CHICAGO -- The Rangers didn't have much time to think about Thursday's walk-off loss to the Angels before taking the field Friday night against the White Sox.
Shortly after Mark Trumbo's two-run home run prevented Texas from a four-game sweep on the West Coast, the Rangers were on a plane en route to the Central time zone, arriving in Chicago in the early morning hours on Friday.
"I did call the league to see if we could cancel today since we had that [awful] travel, but they said no," manager Ron Washington joked before the game. "I talked to a machine. I don't seem to get anybody. I didn't get a call back, so I figured the game's still on."
Washington acknowledged that the travel schedule was just part of the game, and if anybody can relate to the Rangers, it's the team sitting in the other dugout this weekend. The White Sox had their Sunday, Sept. 4 game in Detroit moved to 7:05 p.m. CT, and they have a day-night doubleheader the next day in Minnesota.
"There's always going to be fatigue, but we're in pro baseball," Washington said. "We got the pitchers here a day earlier, so they're fresh, that's the only thing that matters. If it doesn't work out for us [Friday], we're certainly not going to use travel as an excuse."
Mike Napoli's sixth-inning single extended his road hitting streak to 20 games, the second-longest run in franchise history.
With his sixth-inning home run, Josh Hamilton improved to 6-for-12 with two home runs in his career against Jake Peavy.
Three Rangers relievers did not allow a hit over 4 2/3 scoreless innings, lowering the bullpen's ERA to 1.55 in the past 21 games.
Paul Casella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.