ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers could get outfielder Delino DeShields back sooner than they expected.DeShields, who has been sidelined since March 31 because of a broken bone in his left wrist, is scheduled to play for Double-A Frisco on Thursday and Friday. If all goes well, DeShields could be activated
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers could get outfielder Delino DeShields back sooner than they expected.
DeShields, who has been sidelined since March 31 because of a broken bone in his left wrist, is scheduled to play for Double-A Frisco on Thursday and Friday. If all goes well, DeShields could be activated this weekend or early next week.
"With my game, it's not going to take much to be ready to play," DeShields said. "I take a lot of pitches, my swing is short, and my defense is instinctive. It's a matter of me getting back out there and getting my legs under me. It's a buildup. We'll see how I feel. If I'm ready to go, I'm ready to go."
The original prognosis was DeShields would be out four to six weeks. DeShields vowed he would beat that timetable, and Monday will mark three weeks since the surgery to remove a broken hamate bone.
"I have been taking care of myself, and the [trainers] have been doing a great job making sure I didn't have any setbacks," DeShields said. "I trust the process."
The Rangers miss his presence at the top of the lineup. Texas has just four stolen bases to this point, second fewest in the American League. Last year, the Rangers were second in the AL with 113 steals, and DeShields led the club with 29. Elvis Andrus was second with 25, and he is also on the disabled list.
"It's part of our game, an element of our game that helps this offense," manager Jeff Banister said. "Our guys have done a good job at the top of the lineup with the on-base percentage, but we miss the running dynamic. It puts the opposing defense in different situations, and it puts the pitcher on the mound in a different mindset."
Taveras off to strong start
The Rangers keep challenging outfielder Leody Taveras, and he is responding well so far.
Taveras, Texas' No. 1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was 2-for-4 for the second straight night in Class A Advanced Down East's 5-4 victory over Winston-Salem on Tuesday. That raised his batting average to .308, not bad for a 19-year-old who is 3 1/2 years younger than the average age of the Carolina League.
The Rangers feel Taveras can handle it as he continues his steady rise through their farm system. Not only is the switch-hitter holding his own offensively, he continues to stand out on the defensive side.
"Leody's defensive instincts, reads and routes in center are really advanced," assistant general manager Josh Boyd said. "He's so natural and fun to watch out there. With his speed, he can impact the game in so many ways. He's off to a good start at the plate and has been working diligently with [hitting coach] Kenny Hook with Down East, continuing to make strides from both sides with his swing and approach."
Fans can keep track of Texas' prospects this year on the new Minor League Tracking Tool.
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• Infielder Jurickson Profar was out of the lineup for the second straight game and remains in concussion protocol. The Rangers will likely make a decision either Thursday or Friday if they need to put him on the concussion disabled list.
"We'll have more information to make a decision," Banister said.
• Banister wanted to give third baseman Adrian Beltre a day at designated hitter on Wednesday. That required Shin-Soo Choo to play right field and Nomar Mazara in left, a defensive alignment the Rangers were hoping to avoid in Spring Training. The goal was to anchor Mazara in right, but Banister said Texas' wave of injuries has forced the club to improvise.
• Choo scored four runs on Tuesday, the first Rangers player to do so since Rougned Odor on July 22, 2015, against the Rockies. Only the Orioles have gone longer without a player scoring four times in a game.
• The Rangers are planning to officially announce the signing of Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez on Thursday. Texas reached an agreement with the 22-year-old in March, but a formal announcement has been pending while both sides work through legal matters and the required physical. Martinez is already the No. 3 prospect in the Rangers' farm system according to MLB Pipeline.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.