Hamilton may cut into DeShields' playing time

Banister plans to find ways to get young Rangers outfielder in lineup

Hamilton may cut into DeShields' playing time

NEW YORK -- Delino DeShields, who began the season as the Rangers' fifth outfielder, was in the starting lineup for the 13th straight game Sunday night.

DeShields earned the steady playing time. He entered Sunday's game hitting .325 with a .460 on-base percentage, and 12 runs scored in his past 12 games. He was batting leadoff for the third straight game.

But his steady playing time may be coming to an end with Josh Hamilton joining the Rangers on Monday in Cleveland. Hamilton will be the starting left fielder.

"We're going to continue to have Delino engaged as much as we can as long as he is playing well," manager Jeff Banister said.

Hamilton set to return vs. Tribe

More time in center field will be one option. DeShields is a right-handed hitter and Leonys Martin swings from the left side, so a platoon there is an option. Martin is hitting .218 overall and .207 in his last 11 games since spraining his left wrist on May 4 against the Astros.

"I foresee the playing time and how it's been lately with the both of them," Banister said. "There will be matchups we like where we'll put Delino in center field and Leonys. I'll find spots for Delino and keep him in engaged."

Banister said he doesn't expect Hamilton to be ready to play every day when he returns. He also would like to give Shin-Soo Choo occasional time off in right field.

DeShields has been used only in the outfield by the Rangers, but he did play 346 games at second base in the Minors in 2011-13 when he was in the Astros organization. The Rangers have had DeShields do some pregame work at second base, but that is not an option right now. Thomas Field is Texas' second baseman, although Banister gave Adam Rosales two starts there this weekend.

"We have worked Delino at second base and he has gotten better," Banister said. "But we don't have plans for the immediate future to put Delino at second. I have asked a lot from Delino in a short period of time and he has responded. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves."

Worth noting

• Pitcher Matt Harrison, who is on the disabled list recovering from back surgery, will make a fourth start in extended spring camp Thursday. If that goes well, Harrison will throw a bullpen next Sunday in Arlington and possibly be ready to go on medical rehab assignment.

• Pitcher Martin Perez, who is also working out in Arizona while recovering from Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to pitch in his first extended spring game June 5.

Phil Klein flew to Cleveland on Sunday afternoon ahead of the team because he is starting against the Indians on Monday afternoon.

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.