Delino DeShields served as the catalyst to the Texas Rangers’ offense in 2015, when they chased down the Houston Astros to win the American League West.
He found a way to get on base, create havoc with his speed and score runs as Shin-Soo Choo and Adrian Beltre heated up behind him. DeShields, though, wasn’t that player in 2016, bulked up and a step slower, and it cost him his job.
Now fighting for a job on the Opening Day roster, DeShields believes that his back to the player he was in 2015. He transformed his body over the off-season back into the lean physique he carried, and he thinks he has found himself again at the plate.
His stubborn approach was on display Friday during the Rangers’ intrasquad game as he took two walks and saw six pitches in his other plate appearance. That plan will serve him well as he tries to reach his daily goal.
“When I get on base, find a way to touch home plate,” said DeShields, who scored a first-inning run on a double by Travis Snider. “Today was good for me at the plate. I was seeing the ball well. I was patient. Hopefully I keep the same approach.”
Catcher A.J. Jimenez, acquired last weekend on a waiver claim, connected for a home run in a game that ended in a 1-1 tie. Tyler Wagner, a candidate to be the fifth starter, tossed two scoreless innings.