Ordinarily, the news of left-hander Mike Kickham being outrighted off the 40-man roster, clearing waivers and being assigned to Triple A Round Rock wouldn’t register as a key transaction.
But if the Texas Rangers decide that second baseman Rougned Odor needs some time in the minors to get straightened out, it will be a key transaction.
The Kickham move gives the Rangers the flexibility to add Round Rock infielders Ed Lucas or Thomas Field to the 40-man roster as Odor’s replacement. With the Rangers supposedly taking a critical look at the active roster on this road trip, an Odor move could be imminent.
Odor was out of the lineup for a second straight day Saturday, replaced by Adam Rosales. Odor is batting .144, but it’s not just that he’s struggling at the plate. He hasn’t been producing competitive at-bats.
Lucas entered Saturday hitting .316 for Round Rock. Field was hitting .306 but with a .561 slugging percentage.
The emergence of Delino DeShields during a five-game stint as an injury fill-in for Leonys Martin also has altered the Rangers’ thinking.
DeShields was drafted as a second baseman and converted by Houston to an outfielder because the Astros have All-Star Jose Altuve at second base. DeShields has been working at second base since spring training, and is changing the Rangers’ thinking on if he should play there more.
“It helped boost my confidence in him,” manager Jeff Banister said. “We’ll continue to work with him at second base also. We’ll explore that option also.”
Martin returned to the lineup after spraining his left wrist Monday, and DeShields was back on the bench. The Rangers believe that he has value coming off the bench as a player who can alter games late with his speed.
Any talk of him becoming more of a regular at second, or forming a platoon with Odor or Martin, is premature.
“Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves,” Banister said.
But the door is open for the Rangers to swap Odor for Lucas thanks to Kickham being moved off the 40-man roster.
Hamilton helper available
One of the people most instrumental in getting Josh Hamilton back to the minor leagues said that he will be ready to help the Texas Rangers’ outfielder whenever he might need him.
Roy Silver ran a Christian-based baseball academy in Clearwater, Fla., where Hamilton exchanged work and sobriety for use of the facilities in 2006 as he attempted to be allowed back into baseball after multiple suspensions for violating the Joint Drug Agreement.
Hamilton admitted in February to a relapse with cocaine. Silver, hired by the Rangers in January as a player development consultant, said that Hamilton should retire. Instead, Hamilton has been traded back to the Rangers and should be making his 2015 debut in the next 10 to 14 days.
“I haven’t talked to him in a couple weeks, but I think he’s doing good and is ready to go,” said Silver, who lives in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and has been at Tropicana Field during the Rangers’ four-game series against Tampa Bay. “I think this is a place Josh is at his best and this is best for him.”
The Rangers have rehired Shayne Kelley to be Hamilton’s accountability partner, and Kelley was with Hamilton in Arizona. They are together in Nashville as Hamilton begins a rehab assignment Sunday with Triple A Round Rock.
Silver hasn’t been assigned any Hamilton-related duties by the Rangers, but he doesn’t need to be. If Hamilton needs another shoulder to lean upon, Silver will be ready.
“I’m always there for Josh if he needs me,” Silver said. “He’s got a lot of people in his corner. You just pray that when he’s in need that he calls.”
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760