Delino DeShields was out of the Texas Rangers’ starting lineup Friday to open a three-game series against the Oakland A’s, and it’s all Adrian Beltre’s fault.
Well, Beltre didn’t draw up the lineup card. Manager Jeff Banister did that. But Beltre’s hamstring strain continues to limit him to only designated hitter, and that means Banister has only three spots for four outfielders.
For a game, at least, DeShields drew the short straw. Someone will be sitting until Beltre can get back to third base, and that isn’t imminent.
“Not yet,” Beltre said. “That’s the idea. I don’t want to go try to play defense and not be able to make plays that should be made. I can stand at third right now, but I don’t know how that would go.
“I do want to get back there, but I’m waiting to see if I’ll be well enough to not get to every ball but be good enough to get to the plays that I should make without blowing it up the first try.”
Beltre has been taking grounders at third, but he said that he’s not ready to make the quick, reactionary moves, not to mention charging a bunt or racing back for a pop-up.
Carlos Gomez, though, showed Thursday that his right ankle is well enough for him to cover center field, so he was the choice over DeShields even though was 4 for 7 lifetime against A’s starter Kendall Graveman.
Nomar Mazara also returned to the lineup, in left field, and Shin-Soo Choo was in right field. With left-hander Sean Manaea pitching Saturday for Oakland, Mazara or Choo will get a day off and DeShields will play, Banister said.
“DeShields, today, would I like to have him in the lineup? Yes,” Banister said. “I don’t have the DH spot. I also want the two left-handers in there.”