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DeShields clubs two homers in return

Astros prospect had been sidelined fractured cheek since April 18
May 10, 2014

If the average ballplayer took a 90 mph fastball in the face, it'd likely rattle his confidence.

Delino DeShields is clearly not an average ballplayer.

"I was really relaxed," the Astros' seventh-ranked prospect said. "A lot of people would tell you that after getting hit in the face, they'd be nervous about getting in the box again. Not me. I was like, 'You and me, let's go.'"

DeShields, who suffered a fractured cheekbone on April 18, made it obvious to all that he was ready to go Friday night. In his return, which came against the same team and in the same ballpark as his last game, he homered in each of his first two at-bats. The dingers were the only runs for Double-A Corpus Christi in a 6-2 loss at Frisco.

The 21-year-old center fielder was eager to return to action almost immediately after suffering non-displaced maxillary sinus fracture resulting from a Phil Klein fastball.

"Even when I got hurt, I was ready to play two days after I got hit in the face. I was like, 'Let's go.' The swelling was bad, obviously, and obviously [the Astros] wouldn't let me do that," DeShields said. "But I think being so anxious to get back on the field and picturing what it would be like helped me prepare."

Once he'd recovered, Houston sent DeShields to Florida for 10 games in extended spring training.

"I kept telling them I didn't need to go. I said, 'I'm fine, I just want to play!' They insisted I go down there to have some at-bats," he said. "They wanted me at 150 percent before I came back."

As though his patience wasn't already stretched, a delayed flight kept DeShields from rejoining the Hooks on Thursday, when he was officially activated from the disabled list. He waited until the third pitch of Friday's game before knocking the ball over the left-field fence.

DeShields was in a reflective mood as he circled the bases.

"The first thing I said is, 'God is good, man. He blessed me with the chance to play baseball again.' There was no better way to come back than to hit a home run the first time back after an injury that could have been 20 times worse than it was," he said. "And then, coming into the dugout and having all my teammates greet me, that was really cool. It's great that they've got my back."

In the third inning, he cleared the wall in left again and knew immediately he'd hit another homer.

"The second one, I knew. I hit it so good," he said. "The first one was kind of like a first-swing type deal. I hit it enough to get out. But the second one, I hit it pretty, pretty good."

Both of DeShields' homers came against RoughRiders right-hander Alec Asher, who also started the game in which DeShields was hit.

"I didn't even think about it that he started that game. I didn't remember that -- I just remembered the guy who hit me," he said. "I knew we were coming back and playing in Frisco. I did think it was all kind of funny that it all worked out like that."

DeShields also reached on an error and struck out, but he wasn't the least discouraged by those at-bats.

"Every ball I hit, I hit it square. I was hitting the ball hard, and that's the only thing I was trying to do. I was just making sure I was comfortable in the box, which I was," he said. "I feel like I didn't even take three weeks off."

Josh Jackson is a contributor to