Rangers taking 'cautious approach' with Moreland

Designated hitter taking batting practice, but not running at full speed yet

Rangers taking 'cautious approach' with Moreland

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Designated hitter Mitch Moreland won't be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Rangers open their Cactus League slate against the Royals.

Moreland is healthy, but the Rangers want to be cautious as he comes back from reconstructive surgery on his left ankle. He did not play after June 7 and ended up playing in 52 games overall.

Moreland is getting all the batting practice he needs and is taking ground balls at first base. However, he is just not running at full speed yet and the Rangers don't want him out running the bases. Moreland did not play in Sunday's intrasquad game. He was going to play in Monday's game before it got rained out, but the Rangers would have used pinch-runners if he had reached base.

"I feel good. Like I said earlier, it is more of a cautious approach," Moreland said. "I'm still getting my work in and still getting ready. The goal is April 1, not March 1."

The Rangers are hoping Moreland can be ready for a Cactus League game early next week. They have reason to be cautious, as Moreland has been on the disabled list in each of the past three seasons because of leg injuries.

Around the horn
• Shortstop Elvis Andrus also will not play in Wednesday's game because of a sore left knee. Andrus said he is getting better and is able to take batting practice. He is not expected to be out long.

• Pitcher Derek Holland, sidelined with some soreness in his left shoulder, is playing long toss and is hoping to throw off the mound in the bullpen either Thursday or Friday. If that goes well, he should be ready for Cactus League action at some point next week.

• Pitcher Michael Kirkman, sidelined with an impingement in his left shoulder, is hoping to get on the bullpen mound in the next day or so. He will likely need multiple bullpen sessions before he is ready for a game.

• Pitcher Matt Harrison, trying to return from back surgery, is throwing long toss at 140 feet. He is not expected to be ready to go off a mound until the end of the month.

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.