Delino wreaking havoc on basepaths again

Delino wreaking havoc on basepaths again

DENVER -- Outfielder Delino DeShields is beginning to flex his speed and running skills again, which is one reason why Rangers manager Jeff Banister had him batting ninth behind pitcher Cole Hamels against the Rockies on Monday night.

With the designated hitter not being used in the National League city, Banister liked the idea of keeping DeShields and his speed in front of Shin-Soo Choo and Ian Desmond at the top of the lineup. DeShields was a force on the basepaths for the Rangers last season and is starting to show that again since being recalled from Triple-A Round Rock.

"Early in the season, he lost some of that swagger on the basepaths," Banister said. "That's one of the things we challenged him [with] when he was sent down -- play fast, play aggressive and recapture some of that excitement."

DeShields' baserunning was a big factor in the Rangers' 5-3 victory over the Astros on Friday after he led off the eighth inning with a walk and went to second when Choo was hit by a pitch.

The Rangers had a 1-0 lead at the time and, with Desmond at the plate, DeShields stole third, even though there were no outs.

"I had a good feeling," DeShields said. "Me being a basestealer, it's all instincts, and I felt good about it."

The move forced the Astros to move the infield in. Desmond hit a grounder to second baseman Jose Altuve. DeShields broke on contact and Altuve threw home, but DeShields stopped and then stayed in a rundown long enough for Choo and Desmond to move up to second and third.

DeShields helps runners advance

"As much as I wanted to touch home plate, something told me to stop and get in a rundown so the guys could get to second and third," DeShields said. "It was heads-up by Desmond and Choo."

Jurickson Profar followed with a two-run double to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead.

Profar's two-run double

Rangers visit Broncos: Banister and much of his staff spent Monday morning watching the Denver Broncos work out at their nearby training camp. The visit was arranged by bench coach Steve Buechele, who was John Elway's roommate at Stanford; the two have remained friends over the years.

Banister met briefly with head coach Gary Kubiak and talked at length with Elway, but what he enjoyed most was just the chance to watch the workout.

"I love the energy and how quick they do everything in their drills," Banister said. "There is not a lot of standing around. It was action all the time; more repetition, do, execution.

"Those guys just won the Super Bowl. They are doing something right. There are some things we saw today we will incorporate when we get into Spring Training."

In addition to Banister, the Rangers contingent included coaches Spike Owen, Tony Beasley, Jayce Tingler and Brad Holman; trainers Kevin Harmon and Matt Lucero; and staff members Josh Frasier, Brandon Boyd, Josh Boyd and Josh Shelton.

Rangers beat:
Carlos Beltran is still dealing with a little soreness in his left quad but said he is available to play. He was out of the lineup on Monday for the second straight game, though he would have played if there had been a designated hitter. Banister said there is a "good chance" Beltran will be in the lineup on Tuesday but wanted to give him another 24 hours of recovery time.

• Entering Monday the Rangers had 26 relief wins, tied with the Orioles for the most in the Majors and matching their total from last season. Eleven of those 26 wins have come from rookies Tony Barnette (six) and Matt Bush (five).

• Sunday marked the 11th time Yu Darvish has thrown at least seven scoreless innings and struck out at least eight batters. That's the most such starts in Rangers history, one more than Nolan Ryan.

Darvish keeps them scoreless

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. 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.