DeShields ready to prove himself once more

Leadoff hitter and center fielder aims to solidify spot in both roles

February 17th, 2016

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Delino DeShields is coming to camp ready to defend his job as the Rangers' leadoff hitter and starting center fielder.
It's not that he is in danger of losing either job. Manager Jeff Banister just wants to see DeShields continue to progress after a strong rookie season. DeShields entered Spring Training last year as a Rule 5 Draft pick and a long shot to make the team.
But DeShields won a job on the Rangers' bench to open the season, and he eventually took over for Leonys Martin in center field. DeShields played in 121 games, batting .261 with a .344 on-base percentage, 83 runs scored and 25 stolen bases. His defense in center also improved as the season progressed.
"I'm still going to compete like I'm fighting for the last spot on the roster," DeShields said. "If I am in center field, great. But I'm not coming into Spring Training comfortable I am going to be the Opening Day starter.
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"In my entire life, I've never felt comfortable. Growing up, I was always trying to earn my spot. My dad [former Major League second baseman Delino DeShields], when he was coaching me, if I wasn't going well, he would drop me in the lineup. I hated that. That helped me maintain what I have and not give up."
DeShields reported to Spring Training feeling good after finishing last season with a sprained left knee. The injury occurred on Sept. 7, and he was dealing with it the rest of the way.
"I found a way to get through it, but I had a lot of structural support going into the last three weeks," DeShields said.