"Obviously we feel for Delino in this situation," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It's a tough situation for him and us. Taking that guy out of the lineup, you're not going to replace him with the same impact player. Plus, when you shuffle the lineup around, it takes a couple of guys out of where we feel is our best operating lineup."
The Rangers are left with Ryan Rua, Drew Robinson and Carlos Tocci as their immediate options in center. All are inexperienced at the position in the Major Leagues.
Rua is the starting left fielder but can play center if needed. He has made just one start there in the big leagues. Robinson has started just four games in center while Tocci made his Major League debut there on Saturday, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
The Rangers kept Tocci as a Rule 5 Draft pick because of his outstanding defensive ability, but he is still developing on offense.
"We need some guys to fill in and do some things inside that lineup to help us win," Banister said. "Obviously we feel like we have a number of guys who can go out and play. I'm sure Tocci will get more playing time, plus Rua and Drew."
Banister said the Rangers will revisit the idea of using Jurickson Profar in left field. The Rangers wanted to limit him to the infield this season, but that may not be practical in DeShields' absence. That would allow Robinson and Rua to be able to play center and Tocci could be used as a late-innings defensive replacement.
"When you subtract a bat, you have to find a way to add a bat," Banister said.
DeShields injured the hand fouling off a pitch in the seventh inning on Friday night. He remained in the game, drew a walk and played the final two innings in the field. He showed up to the clubhouse Saturday experiencing significant swelling and was immediately sent for an MRI.
"It definitely stinks, but I have a pretty strong mentality and I have been through [stuff]," DeShields said. "When you are trying to get to the top of the mountain, it's not going to be easy. There are going to be bumps and trials up the road, but this is just a minor setback. I'm good, my spirits are high. It's part of the process. Unfortunate it happened, but I'm going to be ready when I get back."
DeShields has been in and out of the Rangers' lineup the past three years as he worked to establish himself as an everyday player at the Major League level. He hit .350 in Spring Training and came into this season with his confidence soaring.
"I don't like feeling like I let my team down, letting the fans down so I had to take a minute and regroup," DeShields said. "But this is a small setback. Just prepare when I am healthy again. I'll be back."