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Moreland played with left foot fracture for 2 months

Rangers first baseman says he feels good after 'breaking-in period'
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A week after Mitch Moreland reached a contract agreement with the Rangers and avoided an arbitration hearing at the last minute, he had a more surprising revelation for the media on Wednesday.

Moreland, who has been in Arizona for three weeks, said he played the final two months of the 2015 season with a stress fracture in his left foot.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A week after Mitch Moreland reached a contract agreement with the Rangers and avoided an arbitration hearing at the last minute, he had a more surprising revelation for the media on Wednesday.

Moreland, who has been in Arizona for three weeks, said he played the final two months of the 2015 season with a stress fracture in his left foot.

Moreland, speaking after a morning workout at the Rangers' training complex, said the stress fracture started bothering him in August and was likely the result of his ankle surgery from 2014.

"My foot was in a little different position and there was a breaking-in period," Moreland said. "It feels good now. I had a full offseason and even by the end of last season, it started to feel better."

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Moreland had his best season in 2015, setting career highs with a .278 batting average, 85 RBIs and a .482 slugging percentage. But he was better before the All-Star break than afterward. Moreland hit .286 with a .532 slugging percentage before the break and .269 with a .425 slugging percentage following it. He was 0-for-13 in the American League Division Series against the Blue Jays.

"I still got to play baseball, so I didn't worry about it," Moreland said. "It might have cost me a step or two, but I have never been known for my speed or quickness."

Moreland's strong season earned him a big raise from $2.95 million to $5.7 million. The real drama was if he would be the first Rangers player since 2000 to go to an arbitration hearing, and the club was bracing for the possibility.

A hearing was scheduled for Feb. 10 in Phoenix, with Moreland, represented by agent Bob Garber, asking for $6 million and the Rangers offering $4.675 million. The night before the hearing, Moreland ran into Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine at the hotel and within 90 minutes, they had settled the issue.

Rangers, Moreland avoid arbitration

"I was walking through, I saw him sitting there and thought it would be the leisurely thing to do to say hello," Moreland said.

Moreland admitted a hearing would be the "worst-case" scenario.

"It was the last resort," Moreland said. "I have had a long relationship with the team and the front office. I felt it was something we could get done and put it behind us so we can focus on what's important, winning a World Series. That's the goal here."

It could be Moreland's last chance to win a World Series for the Rangers. He will be a free agent after the season.

"I think our mindset is what [manager Jeff Banister] brought here, and the team bought into it," Moreland said. "Be where you are today ... be in the present. I've tried to simplify it and take care of what's happening now and see what happens when we get there."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

 

Texas Rangers, Mitch Moreland