Mitch Moreland left tonight's game against the Boston Red Sox after pulling up lame running to second base on a sixth inning double.
Moreland, who appeared to have an easy triple on the play before the injury, limped into second base. Ron Washington and the trainer immediately came out to check on him, and Moreland was then lifted for pinch runner Jeff Baker.
UPDATE -- Mitch Moreland just said in a post-game interview he is returning to Texas tomorrow for an MRI. Assuming no move is made before tomorrow night's rubber match with Boston, the Rangers will have just a three man bench.
The decision to have Baker -- not a fast runner -- run for Moreland, while having Craig Gentry pinch hit for Leonys Martin two batters later, rather than having Gentry run and Baker pinch hit, was a tactical error by the Ranger bench, but one that ended up being moot when Elvis Andrus doubled both Baker and Gentry home.
This injury presents a couple of problems for the Rangers. First, their tactical flexibility is already limited given that Lance Berkman is mostly limited to DH duties.
Secondly, the Rangers were already anticipating not having Adrian Beltre available to play third base this weekend in Toronto, because of his hamstring problem and the damage that the Toronto turf can do to tweaky muscles. Berkman is a question mark in Toronto because of his knee issues and the turf. If Moreland can't go, the Rangers are almost certainly going to have to make a roster move to get someone up.
Which leads us to problem number three...the Rangers don't have a first baseman in the minors on the 40 man roster. Chris McGuiness is putting up a .275/.382/.477 line in AAA right now at first base, but he wasn't added to the 40 man roster this offseason, and at age 25, he's a fringe prospect.
Mike Olt can play both first base and third base, but he's only had five games since being brought back from the disabled list after missing a month with a vision problem, and I can't imagine the Rangers would really want to stick him back in the major league fray so soon.
That being said, Moreland's injury looks like something that is going to cause him to miss time, and given Beltre's balking hammy and the Toronto turf, the Rangers are almost certainly going to have to do something. My guess, at this point, is that they have to call up Olt, either before tomorrow's game or for the series in Toronto.