Texas waiting for Gallo to flash power potential

'When he's hot, he's a game-changer,' Banister says of top prospect

Texas waiting for Gallo to flash power potential

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers want to give top prospect Joey Gallo a chance to get his bat going, manager Jeff Banister said before Friday's 5-2 loss to the Angels. The depth at the top of their batting order will, hopefully, allow them to do so.

"When he's hot, he's a game-changer," Banister said. "We have a situation where we don't need for him to hit in the middle of the lineup -- we can hit him down at the bottom of the lineup -- and if he can get that bat and barrel going, he can be a pretty good force for us down there."

Texas recalled Gallo, ranked the No. 6 prospect in baseball by MLB.com, when rosters expanded on Sept. 1. Gallo's role was mainly to serve as a pinch-hitter, but he started in left field for the Rangers' series finale against the Padres on Wednesday and struck out in all three plate appearances, on 10 total pitches. He was back in the lineup, batting eighth, for the opener in Anaheim. He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Banister's not assuming that Gallo's struggles the last couple of months -- the 21-year-old struck out in almost half his at-bats between the Majors and Triple-A Round Rock -- will be determinative of how he might perform in the big leagues.

"This is a game-changing bat," Banister reiterated. "With that being said, I'm not gonna just sit on my hands the whole time if it's not working."

Will Venable had been the Rangers' main left fielder lately, after Texas acquired him from the Padres in mid-August. Venable has reached base much more often -- he has a .424 on-base percentage since joining the Rangers -- but Gallo, who hit five homers in his first 14 Major League games, provides the elite power potential.

"That's been the deal," Banister said. "Joey, obviously, the on-base is not the thing -- it's the power production, it's the RBI production, it's the threat.

"It can't be just a threat -- at some point it's got to be real. If it's not real, then we move on and we go into another direction, because we just can't have a void down at the end of the lineup. But I'm willing to look and see and take the opportunity to find out if we can't get Joey going."

Worth noting

• Second baseman Rougned Odor continues to play through a torn fingernail on his right middle finger, which was wrapped before Friday's game.

• Catcher Robinson Chirinos (left shoulder strain) continues to rehab at Triple-A Round Rock and has gone hitless in five at-bats over two games behind the plate.

David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.