1:30pm: The Rangers have officially placed DeShields on the 10-day disabled list, tweets John Blake, the club’s Executive Vice President of Communications. DeShields is expected to miss four to six weeks. Right-hander Nick Gardewine has been recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to take his place on the roster in the immediate term.
If the report is true, it represents a huge blow to the Rangers, or as Grant puts it, “a lineup-changing, alignment-shaking injury situation.” DeShields left Friday’s game with discomfort in his hand after a swing during the eighth inning; he’s set to undergo an MRI today after experiencing significant swelling. The loss of their center fielder for any length of time would not only subtract their leadoff hitter and most significant threat on the basepaths, but dramatically affect the club’s outfield defense as well.
As things stand at present, Rule 5 pick Carlos Tocci is the club’s next-best defensive option in center field; he’s got just 54 plate appearances above Double-A to speak of. It remains to see whether the Rangers would be willing to deploy the 22-year-old Tocci in a full-time role (indeed, Grant adds that the club doesn’t believe he’s ready to do so), though it’s worth noting that they did the same thing with DeShields himself in 2015 after taking him in the Rule 5 draft. At this point, it’s worth noting that no viable center field options remain on the free agent market, with Ben Revere having signed a minors deal with the Angels just earlier today.