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There are plenty of star first basemen in the AL, but the Texas Rangers have gotten next to nothing out of a position generally considered to be one of baseball's most productive.

They're hoping that's about to change.

A day after swinging a deal for Jorge Cantu just before winning its fifth consecutive series, Texas may install its new addition at first base Friday night as it opens a three-game set with the host Los Angeles Angels.

Mitch Moreland made his major league debut at first base Thursday, and he had two hits to raise the Rangers' average at that position to .200 - easily the worst in baseball.

Just a few hours before Moreland gave Texas (60-42) some hope at first, general manager Jon Daniels gave the team an even more promising option. He traded two minor league pitchers to Florida for Cantu, who is hitting .262 with 10 home runs and 54 RBIs - two homers and 17 RBIs more than the Rangers have gotten from their first basemen.

Though Cantu mostly played third base with the Marlins, Texas already has Michael Young at the hot corner.

"This was one of the bigger holes we wanted to address," Daniels said. "I would expect most of his playing time will come at first base, but you never know."

For now, it appears Cantu will platoon at first base with Moreland. Former starting first baseman Chris Davis was sent to Triple-A after the Cantu deal.

It's possible Cantu could be used a bit at second base - he entered the majors at that spot - as a fill-in after the Rangers put Ian Kinsler on the disabled list Thursday.

Texas can only hope Cantu contributes to the playoff push as Tommy Hunter (8-0, 2.31 ERA) has done. The right-hander won his third straight start since the All-Star break Sunday against the Angels (52-52), limiting them to three runs and three hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 6-4 victory.

"Tommy did what he usually does: throw strikes, goes after guys and competes," Young said after Hunter became the first Rangers pitcher to win his first eight decisions in a season.

Hunter's lone performance in Anaheim didn't go nearly as well, however. He surrendered seven runs in 2 1-3 innings of an 11-0 loss Sept. 28.

Runs have been hard to come by lately for the Angels. Los Angeles totaled eight runs while dropping three games at home to Boston this week - the first time in 80 series it had been swept at home - culminating with a 7-3 loss Wednesday.

The Angels held a 3 1/2-game lead on Texas at this point last season but now sit nine behind the Rangers.

"Everything is a cause-and-effect, for sure, but we certainly don't feel that we're out of this right now," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We've obviously been struggling the last couple of weeks."

Ervin Santana (9-7, 3.55) might be able to help. The right-hander has a 1.57 ERA in his last three starts after holding Texas to two runs over eight innings in a 6-2 win Saturday.

Cantu is 3 for 12 with a homer versus Santana, while Young is 20 for 50 with three homers. Josh Hamilton is 2 for 18 against him but is batting .440 since the All-Star break.

Tagged: Angels, Rangers, Marlins, Michael Young, Jorge Cantu, Tommy Hunter

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