ARLINGTON -- Outfielders Carlos Gomez and Shin-Soo Choo were both described as being "a little banged up" by manager Jeff Banister, which is why both were out of the starting lineup on Monday night.Both are expected to be back in there on Tuesday. The significance of their absence is that
ARLINGTON -- Outfielders Carlos Gomez and Shin-Soo Choo were both described as being "a little banged up" by manager Jeff Banister, which is why both were out of the starting lineup on Monday night.
Both are expected to be back in there on Tuesday. The significance of their absence is that Delino DeShields was in the lineup against a right-handed starting pitcher on Monday (Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer) for the first time since July 9.
DeShields played regularly in May and June when the Rangers were dealing with a variety of injuries to Gomez, Mike Napoli and others. But his starts have been limited mainly to left-handed pitching since the Rangers' position players started getting completely healthy in the middle of June.
DeShields is hitting .275, third highest on the team, and is second on the team in stolen bases, with 20. His speed adds a unique dimension to an offense that is heavily dependent on the home run. He is hitting .275 off right-handed pitching and .274 against lefties, but his on-base percentage is .318 and his slugging percentage is .341 against right-handers compared with .365/.417 against left-handers.
"DeShields is an exciting, contributing player," Banister said. "It seems like he, in his role this year, is capitalizing to the extent of what he can contribute. Seems like every time he's been in there, he's been right in the mix of the offense. He's gotten so much better in the outfield, the arm's gotten better. He's made some throws that he wouldn't have been able to make in '15 or '16. Diving catches, making good breaks on the ball, he's done a great job of improving himself."
DeShields is basically blocked by Gomez and Napoli. Gomez has the experience and better defensive skills, and Napoli provides a power bat in the lower half of the order.
Banister wants to see DeShields improve his on-base percentage against right-handed pitching.
"Utilize the bunt and continue to control the strike zone," he said.
• The Rangers announced their Minor League award winners for July: Arizona first baseman Tyreque Reed (Player), Hickory pitcher Kyle Cody (Pitcher), Hickory outfielder Leody Taveras (Defender), Down East pitcher Scott Williams (Reliever) and Frisco catcher Jose Trevino (True Ranger).
• DeShields stole his 20th base on Sunday, giving the Rangers two players with 20-plus steals (Elvis Andrus has 22). The Rangers have had two players with 20-plus steals in each of the seven seasons, the longest such streak in the Majors.
• Pitcher Andrew Cashner has a 3.32 ERA after 19 starts. That would be the sixth lowest in the American League, but he is two innings short of qualifying to be included among the leaders.
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.