The Rangers have announced a series of roster moves relating to their recent outfield injuries. A 40-man spot was cleared for the selection of the contract of Jared Hoying when the club designated Patrick Kivlehan for assignment. Meanwhile, outfielder Drew Stubbs was placed on the 15-day DL and top prospect Joey Gallo was promoted.
Texas had hoped that Stubbs could avoid a DL stint, but apparently his toe injury was significant enough that he will be shelved for at least 15 days. The club previously shelved fellow outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, and that combination of injuries led to the need for reinforcements.
Kivlehan, 26, was off to a rough start at Triple-A. He owns a .184/.252/.262 slash over 155 plate appearances. The Rangers acquired Kivlehan from the Mariners over the winter as the player to be named later in the Leonys Martin swap.
As for Gallo, the 22-year-old gets another crack at the majors after showing both his prodigious power and strikeout propensity in a 36-game stint last year. He hit six long balls but also struck out 57 times over 123 plate appearances, posting a .204/.301/.417 line overall.
Starting out back at Triple-A to begin the 2016 campaign, Gallo has impressed. He has increased his walk rate (20.8%) while cutting back significantly on the swings and misses (22.6% strikeout rate). And those gains haven’t come at the expense of power: Gallo owns a .265/.415/.639 slash over 106 plate appearances, with eight home runs.
It’s not yet known how Texas will deploy Gallo or how long he’ll stay up. He’s primarily a third baseman, but saw time in the outfield last year and could conceivably also play first or DH. The club is six games above .500 despite sub-par performances from its two primary options at those spots, Mitch Moreland and Prince Fielder.
Certainly, it’s possible to imagine any number of scenarios unfolding. If Gallo does stay in the majors the rest of the way, he’d be able to accumulate 133 days of service after entering the year with 63 to his credit. In that case, he’d pass one full year (172 days) and move one year closer to free agency. Even if he can’t stick on the active roster for good, an extended stint or two could leave Gallo on pace for eventual Super Two status.