Texas Rangers

Gallo becomes Rangers' backup plan in center field

Joey Gallo has become the Rangers' regular left fielder after opening the season at first base. For at least the next few games, he will be the Rangers' backup center fielder.
Joey Gallo has become the Rangers' regular left fielder after opening the season at first base. For at least the next few games, he will be the Rangers' backup center fielder. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Joey Gallo moves around really well for a big man.

At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, it has become apparent to anyone who has watch the Texas Rangers the past two seasons that he's not just some big donkey, as he likes to say.

He moves so well that the Rangers coaches are convinced that he can be their backup center fielder.

That's who would get the first crack in center if Delino DeShields needs a few innings or a day off.

"That's the word on the street," said Gallo, who is the Rangers' primary left fielder after opening the season as their first baseman.



The Rangers optioned outfielder Ryan Rua to Triple A Round Rock to create a roster spot for Adrian Beltre, who was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list.

Gallo has one career game in center field, in 2015. But he was out there Thursday during batting practice trying to get reads on balls coming off the bat. He will also rely on scouting reports to help him get proper placement from batter to batter.

Manager Jeff Banister said that Gallo can handle things if needed. Infielder Hanser Alberto also has played some center field in his career, though not in an MLB game.

"I'm comfortable with Joey playing anywhere in the OF," Banister said. "He's done it, and I feel confident he can go out and do it."

It could be only a temporary assignment. The Rangers must activate outfielder Carlos Tocci from the DL this weekend. A Rule 5 pick, Tocci can't be optioned to the minor leagues and would need to be designated for assignment, clear waivers and either be refused back by the Philadelphia Phillies or traded back to the Rangers.

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