DeShields supplants Choo atop order

DeShields supplants Choo atop order

NEW YORK -- Delino DeShields is now the Rangers' leadoff hitter. The question is if he'll still be in that role when the Rangers activate Josh Hamilton off the disabled list Monday.

The answer is unknown, but DeShields went into the leadoff spot on Friday night with right-hander Michael Pineda on the mound for the Yankees. Shin-Soo Choo had started 17 straight games in the leadoff spot, but moved into the No. 2 hole Friday.

Manager Jeff Banister said the order is similar to earlier alignments that had DeShields batting ninth and Choo batting first. This lineup just gets a hot hitter up in the first inning and eliminates a batter between Choo and Prince Fielder.

Choo's solo shot

"It frees Delino if he gets on base to run more," Banister said. "In front of Prince, we slowed him down a little bit. Choo takes a lot of pitches, so that gives Delino more of a chance to run. It also opens up that hole for Choo on the right side."

DeShields should be in the lineup Saturday and Sunday with left-handers on the mound for the Yankees. On Monday, there will be some significant changes when Hamilton is ready to join the lineup.

DeShields may go back to being a fourth outfielder, but he could also push Leonys Martin in center field. Martin has superb defensive gifts, but DeShields entered Friday's game hitting .279 with a .405 on-base percentage and 11 stolen bases. Martin was hitting .208 with a .246 on-base percentage and six stolen bases. He had 139 plate appearances, while DeShields had 74.

"I hope [DeShields] continues to make it real challenging on a positive side and doesn't make it easy on a negative side," Banister said. "We'll do everything we can as long as the young man continues to produce. These things usually have a way of working themselves out."

Worth noting

Derek Holland, who has been on the disabled list since April 11 with a strained muscle in his left shoulder, underwent an MRI on Friday with the anticipation of being cleared to begin a throwing program. The Rangers have not revealed the results.

Matt Harrison, who is recovering from lumbar spinal fusion surgery, is expected to make his third start in extended spring camp Saturday. The goal is to pitch four innings.

Phil Klein threw in the bullpen Friday with the anticiptation of starting Monday against the Indians. But the Rangers haven't made that official, even though Klein allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings Wednesday against the Red Sox.

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