All his life, Delino DeShields’ parents told him about the legend of Jackie Robinson. Then came Wednesday. With every player in the majors wearing No. 42 in Robinson’s honor, DeShields, the Rangers’ rookie left fielder, made his first career start batting leadoff.
“It’s my first major league Jackie Robinson Day,” DeShields said. “To start and lead off and play left field, it’s something special, and I’ll always remember it,” DeShields said.
Robinson broke the MLB color barrier on April 15, 1947. That was 45 years before DeShields was born, in 1992, but Robinson’s legacy isn’t lost on the Rangers’ rookie left fielder.
“My dad and my mom both, [Robinson] was somebody they wanted me to follow and really know about, because he was the first African-American to play,” DeShields said, “and he gave me this opportunity and the people that came before me and the people after me.”
DeShields’ father, Delino DeShields, Sr., played 13 years in the majors and stole 463 bases. The younger DeShields has earned a reputation on the base paths, too, though at the minor league level. He stole 101 bases in Class-A ball in 2012, two years after he was drafted eighth overall by the Astros out of high school.
DeShields, acquired by Texas in the off-season, made his first career start Sunday against Houston, batting ninth and going 0-for-2. He’s seen action in four other games, and stole a base Saturday against the Astros. He knows his playing time could be sporadic.
“Whenever I have an opportunity to play, that’s my opportunity,” DeShields said. “I think that’s important for me to have that mentality if something were to happen and I get an opportunity to play every day.”
Gallardo in control
Texas right-hander Yovani Gallardo will return to the mound Friday against Seattle at 9:05 p.m. After struggling in the season opener in Oakland, Gallardo settled in for 52/3 innings of two-run ball and a win over the Astros on Saturday. On Wednesday, Gallardo pointed to two reasons for the improvement: getting ahead in the count and keeping his pitches away from the middle of the zone. Against a lefty, for example, when Gallardo tried to go up and in, his ball stayed on that line, instead of floating over the plate.
He said he’ll take that same simple approach into Friday’s start, as the Rangers search to solidify an injury-hampered rotation.
“You never want to lose another guy, especially after losing a [Yu] Darvish in spring training and then [Derek] Holland,” Gallardo said. “The way we look at it, we have to step up. I don’t think that’s more pressure. The whole staff knows that.”
▪ Rangers reliever Kyuji Fujikawa will transfer to Triple A Round Rock to continue his rehab assignment. The right-hander, who suffered a right groin injury, gave up three runs on three hits in an inning of relief Tuesday at Double A Frisco.
▪ After playing 10 consecutive days to open the season, the Rangers get a travel day Thursday to get to Seattle and two more off days in the next week. They play a two-game series at Arizona next Tuesday and Wednesday.
Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7760