DeShields greets former team, good friend Springer

Rangers' Rule 5 Draft pick spent five years in Astros' Minor League system

DeShields greets former team, good friend Springer

ARLINGTON -- Close friends George Springer and Delino DeShields Jr. always dreamed of sharing the same Major League field while they were coming through the Minor Leagues with the Astros. They finally got that chance Friday, though not wearing the same uniform.

While Springer is an up-and-coming star with the Astros, DeShields made the Rangers out of Spring Training after Texas scooped him up from Houston in December's Rule 5 Draft. DeShields was the Astros' first-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, and Springer was taken in the first round by Houston the following year. They were roommates for three years in the Minor Leagues.

"This is what every kid dreams of -- you know, playing ball and starting their professional baseball career -- is to get to this level," DeShields said. "To be here is a blessing, and I'm very thankful for the Rangers to give me this opportunity to be on this team."

Springer, who made his debut with the Astros last year and hit 20 homers and drove in 51 runs in 78 games, had DeShields sign a jersey for him Friday.

"It's good to see him have some success, and he's getting an opportunity," Springer said. "That's awesome for him."

Top Prospects: DeShields, TEX

DeShields made the Rangers as their fifth outfielder, and manager Jeff Banister said his speed -- DeShields stole 101 bases in the Minor Leagues for the Astros in 2012 -- is legit. DeShields has no regrets about not sticking with Houston.

"I met a lot of great people, a lot of great friends I'm probably going to have relationships with my whole life," DeShields said. "I understand at the end of the day, it's a business, and they made a decision. There's no bad blood, no nothing. I knew this was my next chapter in my professional career, and I kind of look at it that way."

Of course, DeShields has to stay on the Rangers' 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the Astros. He sees himself with the Rangers long term, though.

"I want to stay here," DeShields said. "They gave me my first opportunity to play in the big leagues. That really hasn't crossed my mind. I don't take anything lightly. I still go about my business the same every day, even though I know the rules are little different.

"They've explained to me what my role is on this team. I take it pretty seriously, and I don't take my role and my job for granted."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.