Moreland looking forward to healthy '16 season

Slimmer Lewis also weighs in on Rangers during Caravan stop

January 22nd, 2016

ARLINGTON -- Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland had an unusual offseason by his standards.

It was injury rehab free.

Moreland, who spent last offseason rehabbing from left ankle surgery and the 2011 offseason rehabbing from wrist surgery, had some uneventful down time following a career season in 2015, and he is looking to build on it by coming to Spring Training 100 percent healthy.

"It's the first time in a while," Moreland said. "It was the same story without the rehab. It's a great thing for me. It's kind of unchartered water for me the last couple of years. I'm trying to take advantage of it. I've been working hard trying to get in good shape and be ready to go when spring hits. Hopefully, I can get on a good routine and stay the course the rest of the season."

Moreland set career highs in average, slugging, hits, RBIs, doubles, extra-base hits and total bases, and he matched his career mark with 23 home runs in 2015.

Another season like 2015 isn't out of the question for Moreland, who was joined by teammate Colby Lewis at a Rangers Caravan stop on Thursday night.

"I think he [Moreland] is going to be even better," Lewis said. "I've said it from Day 1 that I think he's going to go out and hit 30 homers. If he gets hot, definitely that number's possible."

Moreland also hasn't paid much attention to his contract situation. He is one of three arbitration-eligible players for the Rangers who haven't agreed to terms.

Moreland was in a similar situation last season before agreeing to a $2.95 million deal in January 2015. The Rangers haven't gone to arbitration with a player since Lee Stevens in 2000. The deadline for exchanging salary figures was last Friday, and Moreland is asking for $6 million with the Rangers offering $4.675 million.

Teams can continue to negotiate until Feb. 1, when the case would then be brought before an arbitration panel, which will then side with either the player or the team.

"My agent [Bob Garber] handles that," said Moreland, who is eligible for free agency following the 2016 season. "That's the reason he handles that so I can help the team win a World Series. He'll call me and tell me where we're at. It is what it is. I try and work hard every year and try to be ready to play baseball, and let them handle that stuff."

Tour de Lewis

Lewis showed up Thursday at 238 pounds, 25 fewer than he weighed at the end of the 2015 season.

Lewis was limited to walking on a treadmill over the final months of last season because of torn meniscus in his right knee that required offseason surgery.

But Lewis has spent his down time in California with a new hobby -- cycling. He's been cutting through the hills around Bakersfield and has biked as much as 62 miles in a day.

"Now I'm hooked," said Lewis, who rides in full cycling gear from the helmet to the outfits. "My average ride is probably like 40 to 42 miles. It's fun. I'm going to go buy me a nice expensive one [bike]."

Lewis, who signed a one-year, $6 million deal earlier this week, has been throwing on flat ground this offseason. Lewis said he'll throw his first bullpen session when the club reports to Surprise, Ariz., next month.