Rangers outfielder Delino DeShields has a broken hamate bone in his left hand, the Rangers announced Saturday. DeShields sustained the injury during Friday’s 5-1 win over the Astros and experienced significant swelling in his hand after the game. He underwent an MRI on Saturday and is expected to miss at least six weeks in recovery. Reliever Nick Gardewine was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to fill his roster spot.
Losing DeShields for any significant amount of time would have a lasting impact on the Rangers’ outfield and lineup configuration. Not only is he the club’s most talented and experienced defender, but he entered the 2018 season as their first choice for leadoff hitter as well. The 25-year-old outfielder is coming off of his best career year to date, one in which he slashed .269/.347/.367 with six home runs and 29 stolen bases in 440 PA.
Without DeShields, the Rangers have precious few options in center field. They’re expected to try Jurickson Profar in the outfield again and will likely stash him in the corner with some combination of Drew Robinson, Ryan Rua and Rule 5 pick Carlos Tocci covering center, though it’s worth nothing that none of the three come close to matching DeShields’ extensive major league experience or leadoff potential. For Saturday’s game against the Astros, Tocci is slated to cover center field while Robinson takes over in left. Elvis Andrus, meanwhile, will assume DeShields’ leadoff spot, leaving the no. 3 position wide open for Adrian Beltre.