Texas Rangers

Slumping Gallo on Home Run Derby: 'I wouldn't bank on it'

Joey Gallo, mired in an extended slump, doesn't expect to participate in the Home Run Derby if asked.
Joey Gallo, mired in an extended slump, doesn't expect to participate in the Home Run Derby if asked. The Associated Press

The last two games at Globe Life Park featured the past two winners of the annual Home Run Derby — Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge — and a slugger who many believe could win it some day soon.

The projected future winner is Joey Gallo, the Texas Rangers' left fielder/first baseman who has hit more home runs in his career than singles.

He's also only a career .200 hitter and insists that must change before he every partakes in the All-Star Game contest.

In other words, don't look for Gallo to be swinging for the fences July 16 in Washington D.C.

"I wouldn't bank on it," Gallo said Tuesday before the Rangers beat Stanton and Judge's New York Yankees 6-4.

Players who aren't selected as All-Stars are allowed to participate in the Derby if invited. Gallo is stuck in a deep slump and knows it. Give him credit for recognizing it and not wanting to do anything like the derby, which could be even more detrimental to his swing and his team.

Judge, the 2017 winner, said that the derby wasn't the cause of his second-half slump, but he also has said that he isn't going to participate again.

"I've talked to a lot of guys who did it, and said they didn't want to do it again," Gallo said. "They regretted doing it. Is it really worth doing it? What's the best thing that could come from it? Guys talk so many swings when they could be off and relaxing. I don't think it's something I need right now."

Though his .197 average after an 0-for-4 night dictates otherwise, Gallo has shown progress this season.

He leads the Rangers with 14 home runs and 31 RBIs, and 16 of his 36 hits have been to center field or left field, including five home runs.

Gallo said that he would not have been capable last season of hitting they pitch that he drove over the wall in the left-field corner at Safeco Field last week in Seattle.

However, he is mired in a 9-for-63 skid the past 17 games. Some fans are clamoring for Gallo to bunt to the left side of the infield to beat the infield shift that often swallows up potential base hits.

While Delino DeShields can drop down a bunt for a slump-busting hit, Gallo can hit the ball hard either over an infielder or over a wall.

"I like being shifted because sometimes it gives me a free hit," Gallo said. "Most of the time if I hit the ball hard, they're not going to catch it. Most of the time. If I catch the ball on the barrel it's going to be a home run or it's going to be in a gap. That's my goal, to go up there and hit the ball hard.

"I'm not going up there trying to fist the ball the other way or roll over into a hole. I'm going up there trying to hit a line drive off the batter's eye. If there's a guy playing in the shift and he gets it, that's part of the game right now."

So are strikeouts, and Gallo will always pile them up. He leads the majors with 71 after picking up three more Tuesday, but he's in good company as Stanton, Judge and Arizona Diamondbacks start Paul Goldschmidt are also above 60.

Judge fanned twice against left-hander Cole Hamels, who for the first time this season received more than four runs of support. He allowed two runs, both on solo shots, in seven innings and left after seven innings with a 6-2 lead.

Jurickson Profar, in his first career start at the cleanup hitter, knocked a first-inning three-run homer, and the Rangers scored two runs in the second without the benefit of a base hit to take a 5-0 lead.

Ronald Guzman swatted a solo homer in the fourth.

Gallo? Well, Wednesday is a new day for him to continue to work on his swing. His plan to stay away from the Home Run Derby this year will help with that, too.

"I haven't been having the season I want to have," Gallo said. "I'm not disappointed in it, but I want to improve on things. I think the Home Run Derby might not be a good thing for me.

"Possibly some day. I'm sure once we get this new stadium, we'll host the All-Star Game in it and I'd probably have to do it then. That's pretty far down the road. I wanted to do it this year, but as of right now, I'm leaning toward not doing it."

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