NEW YORK The select group that makes personnel decisions for the Texas Rangers is about to earn its money in the coming days regarding Josh Hamilton and Delino DeShields.
One decision came down Friday, as the Rangers chose to recall outfielder Jake Smolinski from Triple A Round Rock, rather that activate Hamilton from the 15-day disabled list, as Kyle Blanks hit the disabled list with a pilonidal cyst.
The Rangers want to get Josh Hamilton to 45-50 at-bats in the minors before bringing to the majors. He entered Friday with 39 between Round Rock and Double A Frisco, and remains on track for a Monday debut in Cleveland.
“We’d really like for him to get to that point,” manager Jeff Banister said. “We thought we’d just let him complete the process.”
Once he does, it lead to some other decisions involving DeShields and how much the rookie continues to play.
DeShields has a role in it, too. He must continue to be one of the Rangers’ best nine players. Entering a three-game series at Yankee Stadium, he might have been the best.
If he stays hot, it will be difficult for manager Jeff Banister to stick him back on the bench.
“I hope he continues to make it challenging,” Banister said. “We’ll do everything we can as long as the young man continues to produce and play. These things usually have a way of working themselves out.”
DeShields likely will land in center field or at second base, though left field remains a possibility with Hamilton’s able to play center.
Opening Day center fielder Leonys Martin continues to be underwhelming at the plate, but a plus-player defensively. DeShields played second base until last season and regularly takes grounders there before games.
With Rougned Odor’s struggles leading to a demotion, Tommy Field and Adam Rosales have split time at second base. DeShields has yet to appear there in a game.
“I think that’s always in the back of the thought process,” Banister said.
DeShields has answered every challenge so far.
“I think, for the most part, I’ve shown them what I’m capable of doing,” he said.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760