Morelands join family fun at Rangers camp

Morelands join family fun at Rangers camp

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Mitch Moreland has become a pitcher this spring, and he seems to love every moment of it. He has been looking forward to this new role for several years.

Moreland is still the Rangers' starting first baseman, but once he was done with his day job on Monday, he went into the indoor batting cage and pitched to his 3-year-old son, Crue. His wife, Susannah, and younger daughter, Swayze Ann, watched the father-son bonding.

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"That's the best part of Spring Training," Moreland said. "It's getting a little better, a little closer. He is still just 3 years old. We have a long ways to go. All offseason he wanted to do that. Every day he couldn't get enough. He kept coming back looking for more."

Family is important to Moreland, who grew up in the small northeast Mississippi town of Amory. He still carries the memories of learning to play baseball from his father, Charles, and that is what he is looking forward to with Crue.

"Absolutely, as a dad, I can't wait to do it," Moreland said. "I don't want to force it on him. I want him to have fun and enjoy it. But as long as he wants to do it, I'll help him. I got it from my dad, and I want to pass it on. So far, he seems like he loves it. As long as he wants to do it, I'll be there for him."

Crue is hardly the only son who gets to be with his dad during Spring Training. Adrian Beltre's 9-year-old son, Adrian Beltre Jr., has been wearing a Rangers uniform longer than most of the guys on the 40-man roster.

Prince Fielder grew up in the game with his father, Cecil Fielder, being an All-Star slugger for the Tigers, and now his sons, 11-year-old Jadyn and 9-year-old Haven, tag along behind him. Having them with him was the biggest reason Fielder was willing to do the Home Run Derby last summer in Cincinnati.

Moreland has seen how much the Beltres, Fielders and other families enjoy being together at the ballpark and has been looking forward to it with Crue and Swayze Ann.

That's why he has taken up pitching again.

"You walk by and see those guys throwing to their boys, you want to as well," Moreland said. "At the same time, Crue wants to get out there with the big boys, but we need to give him a little more time. But he loves it, and I'm looking forward to it. I get a big kick seeing how much he wants to do this."

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.