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DeShields benefits from playing every day

Improvement at plate, outstanding defense help Texas OF make case
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have not slowed down with Carlos Gomez sidelined with a cyst behind his right shoulder.

Instead they have been full-speed ahead with Delino DeShields once again showing what he can do when playing every day. DeShields went into Saturday's game with the White Sox hitting .323 with a .432 on-base percentage in his last nine games.

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have not slowed down with Carlos Gomez sidelined with a cyst behind his right shoulder.

Instead they have been full-speed ahead with Delino DeShields once again showing what he can do when playing every day. DeShields went into Saturday's game with the White Sox hitting .323 with a .432 on-base percentage in his last nine games.

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"It has been important," DeShields said. "I know my role this year. It's unfortunate that Gomez has to sit out for a little bit, but I have always made it a point of being as ready as I can be for every opportunity. I'm enjoying it and having fun, but we're winning games. That's most important."

DeShields is also standing out with his defense, making two outstanding run-saving catches on Friday night against the White Sox. According to Fangraphs, his ultimate zone rating has gone from a -7.5 in 2015 to a +5.6 as an outfielder this year.

"I think he has played really well," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He has taken advantage of his at-bats, made some tough plays defensively and made some nice plays with his legs on the basepaths.

"Not playing every day, he has made a couple of minor mistakes, but other than that, he has played very well. I think he has improved in center field and improved in left field. He has made diving plays, cut the ball off and his arm strength and accuracy has improved."

Video: CWS@TEX: DeShields makes a smooth running grab

DeShields bounced between the outfield and second base during his time in the Minor Leagues before becoming a full-time outfielder in 2014.

"Obviously it has been a process," DeShields said. "There are some minor adjustments I've made in Spring Training that allowed me to get reads and better jumps on balls. That has definitely helped. I'm also getting to ground balls quicker and getting rid of the ball quicker. Those things have also come into place."

With Gomez being a free agent this winter, DeShields could be making a case for being the Rangers' starting center fielder in 2018. Drew Robinson also has a chance to figure into that equation.

But right now the Rangers are just trying to win games and stay alive in the American League Wild Card race. The Rangers are 38-29 in the 67 games that DeShields has started this season.

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