As Martin returns, Rangers won't forget DeShields

Strong performance this week should increase Rule 5 Draft pick's role

As Martin returns, Rangers won't forget DeShields

HOUSTON -- Leonys Martin was back in the Rangers' lineup on Saturday after missing four games because of a sprained left wrist. Delino DeShields was back on the bench after going 4-for-15 with five runs scored and five stolen bases in the past five games.

But DeShields' performance in the last five games can only give manager Jeff Banister more confidence to employ him as more than just a fifth outfielder and pinch-runner.

"Delino did a great job," Banister said. "He should feel good about his game and he should feel good about being in the big leagues. He showed the things we felt he could do coming out of Spring Training."

DeShields' RBI single

DeShields has also played second base in the Minor Leagues while in the Astros' organization, and he is starting to take ground balls there again. But that is still only for an occasional situation at most. With his speed, the Rangers view DeShields as making more of a defensive influence in center field. However Banister isn't yet considering a shared arrangement between Martin and DeShields in center.

"Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves," Banister said. "We are watching the young man grow up in front of us. The more playing time he gets, the more confidence he gets. He is going to get more playing-time reps."

DeShields is a Rule 5 Draft pick, and he must stay on the active roster the entire season or be put through waivers and be offered back to the Astros. That keeps the Rangers from sending him to the Minors and getting the at-bats necessary for development. But Banister said DeShields might make up for that by playing winter ball next offseason.

• In a possible prelude to a promotion for infielder Ed Lucas, left-handed pitcher Michael Kickham has cleared outright waivers and has been assigned to Triple-A Round Rock. That gives the Rangers an open spot on the 40-man roster if Texas wants to promote Lucas to replace struggling second baseman Rougned Odor. Lucas is not on the 40-man roster.

• The Rangers released left-handed pitcher Juan Perez from Round Rock after he posted a 10.80 ERA in nine games. Perez had 61 games of Major League experience with the Pirates, Phillies, Brewers and Blue Jays, but he missed all of last season with a torn ligament in his elbow.

• The Rangers did not hit a double on Friday, ending a streak of 27 straight games with at least one.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.