Gallo's Power A Must-See In Rangers Camp

SURPRISE, Ariz.—Rangers pitchers throw live batting practice beginning with the first workout each spring, and those pitchers in big league camp need hitters to face.

The second workout last month gave 19-year-old Joey Gallo the opportunity to face pitchers vying for spots on the Opening Day roster. It also gave many coaches and players the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the 6-foot-5, 205-pound power-hitting third baseman for the first time after hearing about his exploits last summer.

Gallo didn't disappoint, hitting three home runs during the session. Two of those came against Evan Meek, the former National League all-star in camp on a minor league deal. For Gallo, it was just another day in what has become a quick rise to prospect stardom. To his credit, between all the home runs, he has remained humble and has set the realistic goal of starting 2013 at low Class A Hickory.

"I really don't try to get into the expectation thing," said Gallo, the 39th overall pick in last year's draft. "I go out there, and whatever happens is going to happen. Everybody's going to have different expectations for you. I set high expectations, and my goal is to be the best I can be every time."

He continued, saying that he doesn't try to put up big numbers. Just imagine if he did.

Gallo swatted 43 homers in 2012—21 at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, a Rookie-level Arizona League-record 18 over his first 43 professional games, and four more after a promotion to short-season Spokane to end the year.

Surprised? So was he.

"Yeah, it did a lot, actually," Gallo said. "I hit 21 in my senior year in high school. And as I got closer, I was like, 'It would be insane if I hit more in my first year of pro ball.' I ended up doing it, and I couldn't believe it."

Gallo isn't a finished product. He needs to reduce his strikeouts, which can be accomplished by handling offspeed pitches better. He also might grow out of the position, though Rangers personnel have compared him to Troy Glaus.

"If he can't do it, why can't I?" Gallo said.

There isn't much he hasn't done already.

Ranger Roundup

• Righthander Cody Buckel suffered through a difficult Cactus League debut in which he walked five and allowed six runs while recording only one out against the White Sox. "I had a little bit of adrenaline going, and I couldn't really calm myself down from it," he said. "It was something that's a little unusual for me. I know that, and they know that."

• The early surprise in Rangers camp was lefthander Joe Ortiz, who was opening eyes in a wide-open competition for five spots in the bullpen. Ortiz finished 2012 at Triple-A, where he had a 1.97 ERA.