Gallo honing plate discipline in big leagues

Rangers rookie walking more, striking out less

Gallo honing plate discipline in big leagues

LOS ANGELES -- Joey Gallo's at-bats had taken an interesting turn in his last eight games, going into Wednesday. During those eight games, Gallo had as many walks (six) as he did strikeouts.

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In Gallo's first five games, he had just two walks and 12 strikeouts. His budding plate discipline and defensive versatility could be crucial in keeping him in the big leagues for an extended period of time. He went 1-for-4, with a home run, three strikeouts and no walks in Wednesday's 5-3 win over the Dodgers.

"I'm being more selective at the plate," Gallo said. "I'm getting more comfortable. When you first come up, you get excited and swing a lot. Now I'm trying to help in other ways, rather than just try to hit home runs or drive the ball in the gap. I have walked a lot my whole Minor League career. I strike out a lot, but I walk a lot too. It just takes time to adjust to the league. I like to think I have a pretty good idea at the plate."

Manager Jeff Banister has seen Gallo's improvement and had him bat third Wednesday with left-hander Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers.

"He has improved his at-bats … more mature," Banister said. "More than anything else he has been able to relax and get into a rhythm and continue to improve on the things he was working on in Double-A. It does take time to settle in."

Gallo made his second start in left field on Wednesday night. He has started 12 games at third base but right now the Rangers need outfield help with Delino DeShields, Ryan Rua and Josh Hamilton on the disabled list.

"However I can stay here longer and help the team, I'm willing to do it," Gallo said. "I could care less where I play."

Worth noting:

Kyle Blanks was scratched from Wednesday's lineup because of inflammation in both Achilles tendons. Prince Fielder was supposed to get the night off with Kershaw on the mound but started at the cleanup spot, going 2-for-4 with a home run.

• The Rangers will have to make a roster move before Thursday's game to make room for pitcher Anthony Ranaudo. Outfielder Jake Smolinski could be the guy going back to the Minors. He hasn't started since June 3. The Rangers could have Ranaudo start Thursday, send him back down and then activate Rua off the disabled list Friday in Chicago.

Chi Chi Gonzalez came within two outs of throwing his second complete game Tuesday night. It was his fourth Major League start. He would have been the first American League pitcher to throw two complete games in four starts since Tom Phoebus of the Orioles in 1966. Pedro Astacio did it for the Dodgers in 1992.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.