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DeShields has surgery on hand, out 4-6 weeks

Robinson, Rua, Tocci set to fill in for center fielder
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

OAKLAND -- The Rangers are planning to go with the outfielders they currently have while waiting for center fielder Delino DeShields to recover from hand surgery.

DeShields underwent surgery on Monday to repair a broken hamate bone in his left hand. Dr. Thomas DiLiberti, who performed the surgery, said all went well, and the Rangers are expecting DeShields to be sidelined 4-6 weeks.

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OAKLAND -- The Rangers are planning to go with the outfielders they currently have while waiting for center fielder Delino DeShields to recover from hand surgery.

DeShields underwent surgery on Monday to repair a broken hamate bone in his left hand. Dr. Thomas DiLiberti, who performed the surgery, said all went well, and the Rangers are expecting DeShields to be sidelined 4-6 weeks.

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"Everybody would like to have Delino back in four weeks, but we'll see how he recovers," assistant general manager Mike Daly said.

The Rangers are still trying to figure out how to align their outfield while DeShields is sidelined. Drew Robinson started in center field Monday, with Shin-Soo Choo in right, Ryan Rua in left and Carlos Tocci on the bench. Robinson, Rua and Tocci are candidates to play center while DeShields is out.

"They're all outfielders," Banister said. "We are going to find the best combination that allows us to go out and play and allow these guys to continue to develop. You may see Drew in left and Rua in center. Tocci will be out there more."

Video: HOU@TEX: Robinson belts a solo home run to right

There are no true center fielders left on the free-agent market. The two most notable outfielders unsigned are Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista, and they are both corner guys, at best. Even if the Rangers did sign a free agent, it would likely take them at least 2-3 weeks before they would be game-ready, which is closer to DeShields' return.

"The view right now is we have players on this team that we feel good about who are going to get the opportunity to play," Daly said. "We are always looking at ways to improve the team, but first and foremost, we believe in the guys on this team. They are going to get an opportunity."

The Rangers are also having infielder Jurickson Profar start working out again in left field. He has played in 30 games in the outfield in his Major League career. He did not play there in Spring Training because the Rangers wanted him to concentrate on the infield. But everything changed with DeShields going down.

Video: KC@TEX: Profar ropes an RBI double to right-center

The changes included the Rangers' batting order, with DeShields no longer available as the leadoff hitter. Elvis Andrus batted leadoff on Saturday and Sunday, and Choo moved into that spot Monday.

The Rangers' defensive positioning will also change because DeShields' speed and experience allowed him to play relatively shallow in center. Robinson and others will likely be 12-15 feet deeper, according to Banister.

"We need to be able to control the damage on balls over our head," Banister said.

Injury watch: Lincecum, Barnette Tim Lincecum, on the disabled list due to a blister on his right middle finger, traveled with the Rangers to Oakland and threw a bullpen session Monday. It was his second session in the past three days.

Lincecum said he threw all fastballs during his session on Saturday to avoid aggravating the blister. He said he will start adding breaking balls and off-speed pitches later this week as his bullpen sessions increase.

Video: Jeff Banister appreciates Tim Lincecum's work ethic

Tony Barnette, on the disabled list because of tightness in his lower back, threw 24 pitches in an exhibition game between Triple-A Round Rock and Double-A Frisco on Monday. He is scheduled to pitch Thursday and Friday for Frisco, back-to-back outings that could determine if he is ready to return.

"We want to make sure we get through Thursday," Daly said.

Rangers beat

• The Rangers are close to announcing the signing of Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez. The Rangers came to an agreement with him in early March, but the announcement has been put off until all the legal paperwork can be completed.

Video: Prospect Martinez is new top international free agent

Bartolo Colon has 21 career wins against the Rangers, the most by any opponent. Monday marked the first time a pitcher has started for a team that he has beaten at least 20 times since Greg Maddux for the Padres in 2007.

Cole Hamels pitches against the Athletics on Tuesday and could be going against his former catcher, Jonathan Lucroy. The two were battery-mates with the Rangers, but Lucroy is also 6-for-15 in his career against Hamels.

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.

Texas Rangers, Delino DeShields