NEW YORK Josh Hamilton will return to the Texas Rangers’ lineup Monday in left field, and in so doing will force manager Jeff Banister to find a way to get rookie Delino DeShields in the lineup regularly.
It won’t be at second base.
DeShields was drafted as a second baseman and played there until last year in the Houston organization. Though he has continued to get work at second with the Rangers, he’s not going to unseat Tommy Field or Adam Rosales.
“We have worked Delino at second base. He has progressively gotten better,” Banister said. “I don’t have an immediate plans to have Delino at second base. I’ve asked a lot of Delino, and he has responded to it. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.”
Instead, DeShields figures to work in a platoon with the left-handed-hitting Leonys Martin in center field. Both were in the lineup Sunday as the Rangers went for a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium.
That scenario could unfold when Hamilton is given a day off as he works his way back into the daily grind or when right fielder Shin-Soo Choo is given a day off.
“I’ll find spots for Delino,” Banister said.
DeShields said that he grew up watching Hamilton play center field, and he’s excited to play on the same team with the 2010 American League MVP.
“I think he’s going to help the team for sure,” DeShields said. “It’s all about winning. What he brings to the table is a little bit different than what I bring to the table. Whether I’m playing or coming off the bench pinch-running, then that’s what it’s all about.”
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760