Joey Gallo was the Texas Rangers’ starting left fielder Friday for the second consecutive game as manager Jeff Banister attempts to jump-start the young slugger’s bat.
The Rangers brought Gallo, a left-handed hitter, from Triple A Round Rock because of his power potential down the stretch.
Gallo hit five home runs in his first go-round with the Rangers in June and had 14 in 53 games with Round Rock. But he also batted only .195 in 200 Triple A at-bats.
“It can’t be just a threat,” Banister said. “At some point, it’s got to be real. If it’s not real, then we move on and we go in a different direction because we just can’t have a void at the bottom of the lineup.”
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Gallo’s starts come at the expense of veteran Will Venable, the lefty hitter acquired to be part of a platoon in left field as Josh Hamilton recovers from a knee injury. Though batting just .240, Venable has drawn walks in eight of his 11 games with Texas.
Gallo might not get a second chance this season if he doesn’t start producing during this stretch.
“But I’m willing to look and see and take the opportunity to see and find out if we can’t get Joey going,” Banister said. “If not, we have two or three really good candidates that we can put out there in left field.”
Banister said the Rangers weren’t going to use Thursday’s off day to make any drastic changes to the rotation, but he didn’t rule out the possibility of slight alterations to the current order.
The Rangers could manipulate the rotation so that left-hander Cole Hamels would face Houston during the four-game home series Sept. 14-17, but Banister didn’t want to get too far ahead of himself.
“Right now, what’s important to me is tonight,” he said.
The Rangers have one off day remaining this season, Sept. 21, when changes are more likely to occur.
Right-hander Luke Jackson knows this little fact about himself: Entering Friday, the Rangers had used 56 players, and though he has been on the active roster twice, he wasn’t one of them.
Jackson spent a weekend in the bullpen last month at Seattle but never got into a game before he was optioned back to Round Rock. He has been with the Rangers since Tuesday, but didn’t pitch in either of their victories at San Diego.
To his credit, the rookie isn’t fretting over when he will make his major league debut. He knows it’s coming.
“I’m ready to go,” Jackson said. “When the time is right, the time is right. I’m hopeful that it will come sooner than later, but whenever they need me I’m ready to rock and roll.”
Jackson warmed a few times at Safeco Field, where his family had traveled from Miami in anticipation of his first appearance. It wasn’t a lost weekend, he said, as they walked around the city and had a couple of dinners.
“It was awesome,” said Jackson, a former starter who is considering a stint this off-season in the Dominican Republic to keep his arm strength up.
Jackson told his clan to stay put this time, at least until the Rangers get back to Arlington next week.
While Drew Stubbs has played since joining the Rangers, he’s also patiently waiting for his chance to do more. Considering where he had been — with last-place Colorado and its Triple A team — he’s not complaining.
In fact, he and his family are thrilled that he’s with the Rangers. A native of Atlanta in East Texas, Stubbs said that his family will likely be semi-regulars at Globe Life Park instead of their past drop-ins during his trips to Arlington and Houston while with Cincinnati and Colorado.
“Being close to home is always a cool thing,” said Stubbs, who now lives in Austin after going to college at Texas. “Atlanta is about 2 1/2 hours from Dallas. I remember in my early teenage years coming up to the DFW area to play in tournaments. We’d always catch a game whenever we’d drop out. This is definitely the closest to home.”