It’s a good thing that Joey Gallo began to emerge as a future star this season. It’s hard to find anyone who’s been more valuable for the Rangers on the field this season.
Gallo filled in at third base while Adrian Belte was on the disabled list with a calf injury. Once Beltre returned to the lineup, Gallo moved over to first base when Mike Napoli starting having some back issues. Looks like Gallo will stay at first for a little while longer now.
The reason why is because Party at Napoli’s is closing its doors for a little while. The Rangers placed Napoli on the D.L. with a lower back strain. He has played in only three of the last six games.
The return of Napoli in Arlington hasn’t quite worked out as planned this season. After signing a free agent deal during the offseason, Napoli got off to a slow start to the season but did appear to start heating up in May with eight of his 11 home runs coming in the second month of the season.
Now, one thing the Rangers did miss when Beltre was on the D.L. was the clubhouse presence and that could also be the case with Napoli. However, Party at Napoli’s might reopen on June 14, the final game of the series against the Astros in Houston.
Meanwhile, Gallo showed the promise that made him one of the Rangers top prospects during Beltre’s absence. The young slugger is among the league leaders in home runs with 16 and has a .827 OPS. The answer on what to do with Gallo after Beltre returned was answered with the Rangers being forced to move him over to first once Napoli began showing signs of injury.
The Napoli injury is just the latest piece of news in what has been a tough season early on for the Rangers, who go into the mid-week series with the New York Mets on a four-game losing streak. Texas has fallen to fourth in the A.L. West division during that time and are now four games out of the A.L. Wild Card race.
However, some help could soon be on the way. Centerfielder Carlos Gomez went through pregame drills on Tuesday and could begin his rehab assignment this weekend after missing time with a hamstring injury. Pitcher Cole Hamels threw a bullpen session on Sunday and may soon begin throwing live batting practice as he continues to work his way back from an oblique injury. Hamels is expected to return in early July.
While these returns will definitely help, the only question left will be whether the Rangers are within striking distance of a playoff run at the time. If not, the Rangers might be open for business once the trade deadline rolls around in late July. Except this time, they may be sellers instead of buyers.