Texas Rangers

Rangers' Gallo on third base: 'I hate it.' But ...

Joey Gallo played third base in the minors and much of last season, but has developed a fondness for other positions.
Joey Gallo played third base in the minors and much of last season, but has developed a fondness for other positions. AP

For those whose TV bottom lines were filled with the big news from Tuesday at Safeco Field, the Texas Rangers placed their future Hall of Fame third baseman on the 10-day disabled list.

Adrian Beltre aggravated the same left-hamstring strain that put him on the disabled list in April, and rookie Isiah Kiner-Falefa was back at third. The Rangers also were discussing if Joey Gallo should see some time there, the position he played coming through the minors.

Seems logical, right?

"I don't want it. I don't like it," Gallo said. "I hate it. No joke. I hate third base."

(Insert the sound a needle makes when a vinyl record suddenly comes to a stop.)

Gallo has developed a fondness for left field and first base, where the demands aren't as severe on his large body. Left field is plenty demanding, but Gallo likes it far better than the hot corner.

"I'd rather catch," he said. "No joke."

But don't get Gallo wrong. He knows that he is capable of playing there and the team could have a need for him to play what he called his "least favorite position on the field."

"I'll play there. I have no problem playing there," Gallo said. "It's a tough spot to be in. No one has even asked me, but if they did, I'd tell them I'm playing."

Gallo was in left field Wednesday and made a terrific catch for the first out behind Bartolo Colon, who worked 7 2/3 scoreless innings as the Rangers pulled away late to beat the Seattle Mariners 5-1.

Manager Jeff Banister said that it has been discussed, though the desire is to limit Gallo to left field and first base after initially hoping that he would be needed only at first base this season.

Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre landed on the disabled list Tuesday only a week after he came of it with the same injury.



The Rangers also are concerned that dumping a third position on Gallo, even one he is familiar with, could stunt his growth. That, more than any other factor, is critical as Gallo figures to be a critical long-term piece.

"If you ask me the question, 'Do I think that bouncing Joey around is a detriment to his development?' I'd say that," Banister said. "I think Joey is a very mentally tough guy. We've bounced him around all year long, and he continues to go out there and play the game and play it hard. He's still another young guy that's learning to play at this level."

The Rangers understand that Gallo is not as comfortable at third base. He has learned that he can benefit the team by using his athletic ability and strong arm in left field and his range and infield skills at first base.

But the primary goal is winning games.

"We've got to think about what's best for the team with the personnel we have to put us in the best defense, best players, best lineup we have out there," Banister said.

Gallo snapped an 0-for-18 skid Tuesday night in the Rangers' extra-innings loss, singling in his first at-bat and hitting a homer into the left-field corner in his third. He entered Wednesday batting .205 but feeling as if he's a better hitter than the numbers show.

He went 0-for-Houston over three games against the Astros, who employed a super shift that played into his tendency to pull the ball. That's why the homer to left Tuesday was significant.

"It's going to be huge in my development as a hitter," Gallo said. "If I can go the other way like that, I can hit for a higher average and I can hit home runs like I hit [Tuesday]. Last year I wouldn't have been able to do that. I've never hit a home run down the line like that, especially on a line."

That's one example of growth that could be affected by sticking him at third base, which apparently is the last place he wants to be.

"I've played other positions now, and I realize how tough third is and how hard it is on my body," Gallo said. "It's a tough position. I respect the hell out of all the guys that play third base."

Rangers 5, Mariners 1

Texas

000

000

014

5

7

0

Seattle

000

000

001

1

6

1

Texas<QM>

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

DeShields cf

4

0

1

2

1

0

.263

Choo dh

5

0

1

1

0

1

.241

Profar ss

5

1

1

0

0

0

.231

Mazara rf

4

0

0

0

0

1

.279

Gallo lf

4

0

0

0

0

3

.200

Kiner-Falefa 3b

3

2

2

0

1

0

.257

Odor 2b

4

1

1

0

0

1

.200

Guzman 1b

4

1

0

0

0

3

.200

Perez c

2

0

1

0

0

0

.143

Chirinos ph-c

1

0

0

0

1

1

.194



Seattle<QM>

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Gordon cf

4

0

1

0

0

1

.315

Segura ss

4

0

0

0

0

0

.309

Haniger rf

4

0

1

0

0

0

.294

Seager 3b

4

1

1

1

0

0

.241

Healy 1b

3

0

0

0

1

0

.278

Gamel lf

4

0

2

0

0

0

.194

Zunino dh

3

0

1

0

0

0

.207

Heredia pr-dh

0

0

0

0

0

0

.260

Romine 2b

3

0

0

0

0

2

.167

Freitas c

3

0

0

0

0

0

.220



E—Healy (1). LOB—Texas 7, Seattle 5. 2B—DeShields (5), Profar (11), Gamel (3). HR—Seager (8), off Kela. RBIs—DeShields 2 (6), Choo (16), Seager (28). SB—Guzman (1). Runners left in scoring position—Texas 5 (Choo 2, Profar 2, Odor); Seattle 2 (Segura, Romine). RISP—Texas 2 for 10; Seattle 0 for 3. GIDP—Gamel. DP—Texas 1 (Profar, Odor, Guzman).

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Colon, W, 2-1

7<AF>2/3

4

0

0

0

3

96

2.82

Diekman

0

1

0

0

0

0

2

3.68

Leclerc, H, 3

<AF>1/3

0

0

0

0

0

1

2.57

Kela

1

1

1

1

1

0

25

5.06

Seattle

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Bergman

7

2

0

0

0

5

90

0.00

Pazos, L, 1-1

<AF>1/3

2

1

1

0

1

6

1.65

Vincent

<AF>2/3

2

1

0

0

1

10

3.63

Rzepczynski

<AF>2/3

0

3

0

1

3

18

8.53

Altavilla

<AF>1/3

1

0

0

2

0

20

3.68

Diekman pitched to 1 batter in the 8th. Vincent pitched to 1 batter in the 9th. Inherited runners-scored—Diekman 1-0, Leclerc 2-0, Vincent 2-1, Rzepczynski 1-1, Altavilla 2-2. PB—Freitas (3). Umpires—Home, Jeff Nelson; First, Laz Diaz; Second, Manny Gonzalez; Third, Andy Fletcher. T—2:52. A—20,629 (47,943).

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