Friday, February 23, 2018
Sports

All-Star SS Desmond to start in OF for Texas

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Free agent Ian Desmond agreed to a one-year deal with the Rangers that when finalized will include a move to the outfield for the one-time All-Star shortstop.

The $8 million deal, first reported by Fox Sports, was subject to Desmond passing a physical. The 30-year-old has spent all seven of his major-league seasons with the Nationals.

Desmond, who reportedly had been discussed by the Rays, is expected to play leftfield for the AL West champion Rangers since Josh Hamilton will start the season on the disabled list and is expected to miss at least the first month of the season because of left knee issues.

"I want what's best for the team. I want to do whatever I can obviously on the field to help the team win, but if I'm not there, I expect them to put somebody out there that's going to give us the best chance to win," Hamilton said Sunday after word of the deal spread through camp.

Hamilton, a five-time All-Star and the 2010 AL MVP, had two operations on his knee last year and a cortisone shot in January. But he had soreness and swelling after reporting to Arizona early and still has several days on crutches after a stem cell and platelet-rich plasma injection last week.

Desmond has started only one of his 927 career games in the outfield.

Along with the shift to the outfield, Desmond could give shortstop Elvis Andrus an occasional break, as well as second baseman Rougned Odor.

Desmond has a .264 career batting average with a .312 on-base percentage and a .424 slugging percentage.

Also, with Tony Beasley starting chemotherapy, the Rangers brought in former big-league shortstop Spike Owen as interim third-base coach.

DODGERS: Left-hander Clayton Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, will be the opening day starter for the sixth year in a row, April 4 against the Padres.

INDIANS: Veteran infielder Juan Uribe, 36, agreed to a one-year contract. Uribe will likely be the starting third baseman.

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