Gallo, Mazara optioned to Triple-A

Gallo, Mazara optioned to Triple-A

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have sent four of their top prospects back to the Minor Leagues.

Third baseman Joey Gallo, shortstop Jurickson Profar and outfielders Nomar Mazara and Lewis Brinson were sent down on Monday morning. Also sent down were Ryan Cordell and Drew Robinson, the Rangers' two prized young potential utility players.

"Part of the sentiment as we send these guys out is to keep them together," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Let them understand they are an important group of players. They are the next wave of players, and the guys understand that if they come up, they have the ability to compete."

Gallo's monster home run

Gallo is the No. 1-ranked prospect in the Rangers' system according to MLBPipeline.com. Brinson is No. 2, Mazara is No. 3 and Cordell is ranked 15th.

"I think it was a lot of fun," Gallo said. "I learned a lot and was able to work on what I needed to work on. I am really happy with my camp."

Profar and Gallo are the only two with Major League experience. Profar played in 85 games for the Rangers in 2013, but he missed all of the past two seasons because of a torn muscle in his right shoulder. The club wants him playing every day at shortstop for Triple-A Round Rock.

"The confidence in the arm is there," Banister said. "There is still some strengthening that can happen."

Gallo played in 36 games for the Rangers last season, hitting .204 with six home runs, 14 RBIs and 57 strikeouts in 108 at-bats. He also struggled at Triple-A Round Rock, hitting .195 with 14 home runs, 32 RBIs and 90 strikeouts in 200 at-bats.

Gallo arrived in Spring Training and showed significant improvement in his plate discipline, pitch selection and approach. He was 6-for-18 with three home runs in his last nine games.

Mazara's RBI single extends lead

Brinson and Mazara are the organization's top two outfielder prospects, but any chance of them mounting a surprise run to make the team went out when the club signed Ian Desmond to play left field. The Rangers are also locked in with Delino DeShields in center and Shin-Soo Choo in right.

Mazara, who plays the corners, was 12-for-32 (.375) on the spring, although he had one hit in his last 12 at-bats. He also suffered a bruised big toe on his right foot when he fouled off a pitch in Sunday's game. Brinson, a true center fielder, was 6-for-18 (.333) including a walk-off home run against the Royals on Friday in San Antonio.

Cordell was 6-for-19 (.316), but he also suffered a sprained right ankle. Robinson hit .233, but he continued to impress with his ability to play all four infield positions.

The Rangers also sent down pitchers Alex Claudio, Francisco Mendoza and Anthony Ranaudo on Monday. Ranaudo came to camp as a fifth starter candidate but never really took off. He had some back tightness and is working with pitching coach Doug Brocail on overhauling his mechanics.

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.