Texas Rangers

Gallo will play only 70 games in 2019. Should Rangers worry he loses All-Star touch?

There will be baseball at Globe Life Park after the Texas Rangers’ regular-season finale Sunday.

A group of Rangers prospects from their futures camp will play the TCU baseball team at 6 p.m. Oct. 1 in a 12-inning game. Twelve innings!

The Rangers’ prospects will play Dallas Baptist over 12 innings Thursday night, 45 minutes after the 1 p.m. series finale against the Boston Red Sox.

Twelve innings!

Judging by the opener of the Red Sox-Rangers series, first pitch Thursday should be around 10 p.m.

It wasn’t a particularly crisp game Tuesday.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 12-10 loss.

Missed time costly?

Joey Gallo isn’t going to play again this season. That’s not official, but it was fairly evident as he spoke at length to reporters for the first time since being called back from rehabbing his right hand in Arizona.

He hasn’t swung since, and he is concerned that playing again at less than full strength might lead to some poor swing mechanics. The Rangers share a similar concern.

Gallo will miss the Rangers’ final 72 games and play in only 70. He also missed time in June with an oblique injury.

The next time Gallo plays in a game will be in spring training.

That’s nearly six months without taking an at-bat for a player who broke through with his finest season after changes to his approach and swing.

There would seem to be some concern that those changes might be lost in the time off.

That isn’t the case, though.

“Confidence-wise, I would have been a little happier if I’d done it the whole year, and that’s the challenge,” Gallo said. “I felt so good this year swinging and where I was at that if I come back and I can’t swing the same when, then maybe I go into the off-season creating some bad swing habits.

“But, yeah, I definitely feel like I’m a changed player.”

Manager Chris Woodward said that spring training will be important for Gallo because he needs to see pitches. The Rangers might go so far as to create simulated games for Gallo during the off-season.

Woodward also isn’t worried that Gallo will lose his mojo before next season, which opens March 26 at Seattle.

“He understands how he improved last year from this year,” Woodward said. “I feel like he has a really good foundation about who he is now as a hitter and how he can improve that.

“He hasn’t lost sight of any of that. I don’t think it’s going to negatively affect him.”

Offense strikes

The Red Sox have been eliminated from playoff contention, but they didn’t start some bum against the Rangers. Eduardo Rodriguez has an ERA under 4.00 and is gunning for 20 victories.

The Rangers knocked him around for five innings, scoring seven times. Rougned Odor hit a two-run homer off the left-hander, and the Rangers collected 11 hits against him.

“We hit him pretty good,” Woodward said.

It was the second straight game in which the offense did damage. They scored eight times Sunday, though with five home runs fueling the charge.

“There was no shortage of base runners and quality at-bats to get us in a position to possibly win us a game,” Woodward said. “I thought we did a good job offensively.”

Odor and rookie Scott Heineman drove in three runs apiece, and Elvis Andrus and Isiah Kiner-Falefa collected three hits each.

Andrus drove in two on sacrifice flies.

He has an extra-base hit in three straight games, following homers Saturday and Sunday. Those three games came the day after general manager Jon Daniels said Andrus might have some competition next spring.

Andrus heard about that. It appears he has responded to it.

Injuries piling up

Beyond Gallo almost certainly missing the rest of the season, Hunter Pence confirmed that he will miss the final six games because of his bad back and Nomar Mazara’s right thumb might keep him out.

Right-hander Shawn Kelley had to leave his outing Tuesday because of tightness in his groin. Catcher Jeff Mathis’ back feels better, but he has to catch a bullpen session and swing a bat with more effort before he is ready to play. Infielder Logan Forsythe is still on the mend.

Those are just the injuries that have cost players significant time. Who knows what else others are dealing with after 157 games?

The saying this time of a season is, “No one is 100 percent.” A lot of what is being seen at the plate and on the mound across baseball is a by-product of that, yet guys keep showing up and playing every day.

Don’t let anyone tell you baseball players aren’t tough.

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After 12 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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