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Gallo needs more seasoning, but he'll be back

7/1/2015

Joey Gallo has played only 25 games in the big leagues, but nobody wants to miss one of his at-bats, whether it’s Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre or folks sitting in front of their TVs.

That’s because the 21-year-old from Las Vegas has the kind of prodigious power that leaves folks in awe. It's what gives Gallo star potential -- when he's not striking out, something he does nearly half of the time.

It’s pretty clear to Gallo and the Rangers what he needs to work on at Triple-A Round Rock because he has way too much talent to be a one-dimensional, all-or-nothing hitter.

The Rangers sent Gallo to Triple-A on Tuesday when they activated Josh Hamilton (hamstring) from the disabled list.

When Gallo arrived, he was only supposed to be here for a couple of weeks while Beltre recovered from a sprained thumb. But Gallo started off so well -- he’s the first player in franchise history to homer in each of his first two games -- that when Hamilton injured his hamstring, the Rangers kept him on the roster and used him in the outfield.

Gallo's job is simple now: refine his swing a tad and get better against left-handers.

Gallo hit .218 with five homers, 13 runs scored and 13 RBIs with the Rangers. He struck out 43 times in 87 at-bats, in part, because he takes a huge cut every time he swings the bat. Cutting down his swing with two strikes is a foreign concept. He was 0-for-17 with two strikes.

Gallo finished Monday’s win over Baltimore with his third Golden Sombrero -- four strikeouts in a game -- and he has struck out 27 times in the last 14 games.

He had no chance against left-handers, hitting .135 with two homers and 23 strikeouts in 27 at-bats. He must hit better against lefties to evolve into the dynamic offensive player general manager Jon Daniels has always envisioned. There’s still plenty of time.

Gallo is only 21 and had never played above Double-A when the Rangers called him up. Despite that, Gallo never seemed overwhelmed. Yes, he struggled, but he never gave away at-bats or let his hitting affect his defense or his attitude.

"It was a tremendously good experience just to be up here and kind of just see what the big league life is and face the pitchers that we faced," Gallo told reporters. "I had some success, and I had some failures. I kind of experienced both things.”

Now, it’s time to go to work and refine his approach at the plate. The next time Gallo wears a Rangers uniform, he should be here for years to come.