Posted on July 25, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Texas Rangers have surprised most of baseball by remaining competitive into the second half of the season. But they may have just suffered a loss that ends any serious pursuit of a playoff spot in 2019. Slugger Joey Gallo is set to undergo surgery to repair the broken hamate bone in his right wrist. Given his importance to the Texas lineup, the Rangers may not survive without Gallo with him likely to miss six weeks of action.
Gallo has been dealing with a sore wrist for a while. He finally took himself out during the 8th inning of Tuesday’s win over the Mariners. An MRI performed Wednesday was inconclusive. But a visit to a hand specialist revealed the fractured hamate bone, forcing the Rangers to put Gallo on the 10-day Injured List, interrupting what has been a breakout season for him.
“Joey plays through a lot of nagging things so for him to say it’s pretty sore meant a lot to me,” said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. “He has probably been playing with it sore and it’s probably affecting his bat to ball, especially when it’s your lead hand. It makes it tough.”
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His numbers since returning from an oblique injury in late June have suggested that he’s not completely healthy. In the month of July, Gallo is hitting just .135 with an OPS of .526. When he initially went to the Injured List in early June, he was hitting .276 with an OPS of 1.074. Despite missing a few weeks in June, Gallo is the team leader in home runs and tied for third in RBIs, both of which indicate his importance to the Rangers.
To replace Gallo, the Rangers are expected to recall Willie Calhoun from triple-A. The 24-year-old Calhoun has hit .277 with an OPS of .802 in just under 100 big league at-bats this season. However, it will likely be Delino DeShields taking Gallo’s spot in center field. While an upgrade over Gallo defensively, DeShields is hitting .257 with just three home runs this season. He will be a huge drop-off from Gallo in terms of power and overall offensive production.
To be fair, the likes of Hunter Pence, Shin-Soo Choo, and Danny Santana have provided the Rangers with plenty of pop this season. However, Texas is 5-13 in July amidst Gallo’s struggles at the plate. They have slipped in the standings without their big slugger producing at the same clip he was earlier this season. That’s a strong indication of how the Rangers will fare with Gallo likely on the IL until at least early September.
In fact, it may not even make sense to bring Gallo back at all. The Rangers have fallen 6.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. They already had a steep climb ahead of them and losing Gallo will make it next to impossible to remain in the playoff hunt. At this point, it makes more sense for the Rangers to be sellers at the trade deadline.
In many ways, the Rangers can consider this season a success. Gallo was one of a few players to enjoy a breakout campaign. They gave their fanbase a reason to be optimistic by staying in the playoff picture past the all-star break. But the Rangers simply aren’t set up to overcome the loss of a player like Gallo at this crucial time of year. Despite a valiant effort, the injury to Gallo will all but close the books on the 2019 season for Texas.