Delino DeShields’ hard slide on his left knee while trying to make a catch in shallow center field Saturday night isn’t the reason he wasn’t in Sunday’s starting lineup.
Although the knee soreness was a mild concern, Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister had already determined DeShields would be getting a day off against Seattle Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez.
The Rangers have a day off Monday, their last off day before finishing the regular season with 13 consecutive games at Oakland, at Houston and then home against Detroit and the Los Angeles Angels.
“It gives him a little extra time to help that [knee] calm down so we have him ready for the Oakland and Astros series,” Banister said. “It kind of set up for us to give Delino today and tomorrow, he’s banged up, sore knee. It kind of played its way out.”
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DeShields has played 114 games this season (including six on a rehab assignment with Triple A Round Rock) with 97 starts in the majors. His career-high for games played professionally in one season is 135 in 2012 for the Astros’ Class A affiliates.
“We’ve got this long stretch at the end of the year,” DeShields said. “It’s nothing that’s going to hold me down.”
Venable leads off
Will Venable led off Sunday for the third time with the Rangers. It’s a role he’s comfortable filling when DeShields needs a break. Venable led off 23 times for the Padres this season before the trade. A year ago he led off 26 times and 31 times in 2013.
“You take on more of a responsibility to get on base for the guys coming behind you,” Venable said. “You might structure your at-bats a little differently. You might see a pitch to bring a walk into play.”
Venable has frequently been used as a defensive replacement in later innings in left. That’s another role Venable is comfortable in.
“You’re not coming in cold because the first three or four innings you’re in the game mentally and playing out situations where you might enter the game,” he said. “Making sure whenever your name is called that your mind and body are ready.”
Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, attended their second game in the past week Saturday. But another special guest was also watching from a suite at Globe Life Park.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was in attendance after a function at the Bush Presidential Center on SMU’s campus earlier in the day. Alito visited with players in the Rangers’ clubhouse after the game, including Cole Hamels, who met Alito when he pitched for the Phillies. Alito grew up a Phillies fan in south New Jersey.
“He’s a big Phillies fan,” Hamels said. “It’s crazy being put in a situation like this, the people you come across and meet. I’m honored.”
Center fielder Leonys Martin was recalled from Triple A Round Rock and activated for Sunday’s game. Martin will take live batting practice Tuesday in Oakland for the first time since having surgery to repair the hamate bone in his right hand.
“This has been as hot a hitter as I’ve seen. The ability to get on base also, not just the hits. There’s not a whole lot of them that have been cheap. The ability to get the barrel to the ball has been exceptional. He’s taking pitches a lot of guys swing at. He’s taking them and he’s not missing the ball that’s his pitch to hit. That’s the key, he’s not missing it. He’s not fouling it off, he’s actually barreling them. That’s the difference between a really hot hitter and a guy who is taking good swings.” — Banister on Shin-Soo Choo, who entered Sunday’s game having reached base in 16 of last 20 plate appearances, including 12 hits.
23 Games in which Choo has collected a hit, walk and hit-by-pitch since 2009, including Saturday night. That’s seven more than any other player in that span.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760