13 Aug

gotta have a plan

When Mitch Moreland signed with Oakland as a free agent this past off-season, it was with the understanding that he’d be primarily a designated hitter in 2021. It was a role the ex-Mississippi State standout had never filled before in a big league career that began in 2010 and has been spent mostly in the American League. “It’s definitely going to be different,” he said in a published interview before the season, “so I’m kind of looking forward to (spring) camp to figure out how to transition into that a little bit better. Get a game plan together for that job. I can’t answer it yet.” It’s August, and the game plan is still a work in progress. Moreland, 35, is hitting just .230 with nine homers and 27 RBIs over 71 games — 54 of those as a DH, six as a first baseman. Maybe something clicked on Thursday, when Moreland blasted two homers in a 17-0 win over Cleveland. The homers were his first since July 16. He is batting .200 since the All-Star break. The lefty-hitting Moreland, who has always hit right-handers well, isn’t even starting every game against them. He has a career .251 average and 185 homers, the kind of power the A’s were seeking when they signed him. Oakland, which has won seven in a row and 11 of 13, is a serious playoff contender. Perhaps Moreland, who has been a productive postseason hitter (.259, four homers, 19 RBIs in 52 games), can figure something out down the stretch. There’s still time to be a contributor in meaningful games ahead. P.S. MSU alum Jacob Robson made his big league debut Thursday for Detroit, going 0-for-2 in a win over Baltimore. Robson, a lefty-hitting outfielder, was batting .275 at Triple-A Toledo after hitting .424 in 18 games at Double-A Erie to start 2021. He joins Justin Steele, Nick Sandlin and Jack Kruger as Mississippians who debuted in the majors this year.

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