3/25/2014 8:20 P.M. ET
Moreland will be option in outfield
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers were serious about taking a hard look at Mitch Moreland as an outfielder this spring and have come to a conclusion. Moreland is still likely to be the Rangers primary designated hitter but he has proved he can play in the outfield.
He will be more of an option in both left and right field for the Rangers this season.
"He's turned into a piece we can use out there," manager Ron Washington said.
Moreland has played in just four games in the outfield over the past two seasons. He had 34 games there in 2011 while Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz were on the disabled list but has spent most of his time with the Rangers playing first base. But the Rangers acquired Prince Fielder in the offseason to play first so Moreland started working out almost exclusively with the outfielders this spring.
Moreland played right field Tuesday for the sixth time this season. He has played four in left, four at first base and three at designated hitter. That may be an indication of how Moreland will be used this season to keep his left-handed bat in the lineup.
"I'm preparing myself the best I can so if this is the way it's going to be during the season," Moreland said. "I'm trying to be ready for anything and everything."
Lewis won't be in rotation to start season
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Colby Lewis will not be joining Martin Perez, Tanner Scheppers, Robbie Ross and Joe Saunders in the Opening Day rotation.
The Rangers believe Lewis needs a little more time before he pitches in the big leagues for the first time since July 18, 2012. Lewis, who underwent flexor tendon surgery in 2012 and hip replacement in 2013, is scheduled to throw 75 pitches against the Mariners on Wednesday.
The next step for Lewis would be to pitch in an exhibition game between Triple-A Round Rock and Double-A Frisco next Tuesday in Round Rock. That is the day after Opening Day. The goal would be to get Lewis up to 90-100 pitches and see if he can sustain his stuff consistently from beginning to end.
"After those two starts, we'll see where he's at and how he feels and see where we go next," general manager Jon Daniels. "We have not made a decision beyond next Tuesday."
Lewis, who is in camp on a Minor League contract, has the option of becoming a free agent if the Rangers don't put him on the Major League roster at the end of Spring Training. But he also has that option at monthly intervals during the season so he could postpone any decision until the end of April.
"We have talked to Colby about a wide range of possibilities and he understands," Daniels said. "We're all on the same page."
The fifth spot in the rotation behind Perez, Scheppers, Ross and Saunders depends on what happens with Yu Darvish. If he starts the season on the disabled list, then the Rangers could move Alexi Ogando back to the rotation. He was put in the bullpen last week but the Rangers may need him more in the rotation.
"We have to consider all the possibilities with Alexi," Daniels said.
The Rangers also have to make a decision Wednesday about guaranteeing pitcher Tommy Hanson's contract. Hanson has fallen out of the rotation competition but could take his free agency if the Rangers don't guarantee his contract and instead option him to Triple-A.
McCutchen added to big league camp
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have brought Daniel McCutchen to big league camp with a chance to make the team as a middle reliever. McCutchen is in camp because the Rangers are moving Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross to the rotation and may have to put Alexi Ogando there as well if Yu Darvish goes on the disabled list.
McCutchen, who pitched in 108 games for the Pirates in 2009-12, was signed as a Minor League free agent in the offseason. He was not invited to big league camp but has been used in three games when the Rangers needed extra pitching.
"He is a guy who has impressed each time he has come over," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "As we build our 12-man staff and moved relievers into the rotation, we have not left ourselves with many multi-inning options."
Right now, the Rangers bullpen includes right-handers Joakim Soria, Ogando, and Jason Frasor, and left-hander Neal Cotts. Ogando is the only pitcher from that group who can consistently pitch multiple innings in an outing. Shawn Tolleson may make the team as a right-handed setup reliever as well.
McCutchen's best year with the Pirates was in 2011 when he was 5-3 with a 3.72 ERA in 73 games. He has allowed one run in 3 1/3 innings in Cactus League games this spring, allowing three hits and a walk with five strikeouts. He allowed one run in two innings against the Athletics on Monday.
"They called me yesterday and told me to pitch a couple innings in the big league game," McCutchen said. "They called last night and said move over here [to the Major League clubhouse]. So obviously it was unexpected. Better late than never. I don't know what the picture is, who has spots and who doesn't. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and see what happens."
• The Rangers have signed veteran catcher Chris Snyder to a Minor League contract. He will most likely catch at Triple-A Round Rock. He was released by the Nationals on Monday but is a 10-year veteran with 715 games of big league experience, mostly with the D-backs in 2004-10.
• Shortstop Elvis Andrus, who is dealing with soreness in his right elbow, had a lengthy and productive session with Washington early Tuesday morning. Andrus, who is in the middle of a seven-day throwing program, worked on throws from around second base. The next step will be to make throws Wednesday from the shortstop position. If that goes well, Andrus could play shortstop either Friday or Saturday in San Antonio against the Astros.
• The Rangers are scouting the Cubs, who have extra infielders in Darwin Barney and Donnie Murphy. They are higher on Barney. Ronny Cedeno, Kevin Frandsen and Cesar Izturis are all veteran infielders who have become free agents in the last two days.
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.