Gallo, Profar willing to play any spot on field

Former top Rangers prospects battling to earn time

Gallo, Profar willing to play any spot on field

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Jurickson Profar, besides being an extremely smart baseball player, is also accomplished at the art of diplomacy.

But a bit of honestly also does seep through the ever-present smile.

"I'm getting ready to play and do my best to be the player I want to be," Profar said. "Everybody has a goal and my goal is to play baseball."

Profar shows off his speed

Joey Gallo, equally bright and diplomatic, can also be honest when it comes to wondering what might happen in the future.

"Every night it is hard for me to sleep," Gallo said. "All I ever wanted to be is a Major League player and perform at the highest level. But for me, I'm here to play, get my reps and at-bats and get more development."

Manager Jeff Banister said both should be worried about only one thing.

"Playing baseball," Banister said. "This is about playing baseball."

Profar and Gallo are two of the most highly rated prospects to come out of the Rangers' farm system. Over the past few years, both have been ranked No. 1 in Texas' system and in the Top 10.

Now they continue to wait their turn to see what the next six weeks holds in store for them. Both will get a chance to be a part of the left-field competition and both will see time in the infield. Gallo will play third base and Profar will play many positions because that's what he did last year as a utility player.

Profar's diving catch on a bunt

The Rangers see that as a valuable role.

"I will be Ben Zobrist," Profar said.

Zobrist, now with the Cubs, has averaged 639 plate appearances over the past eight seasons while playing every position except pitcher and catcher. Profar would like that, even though his dream is to be an everyday middle infielder.

"I just have to be ready to play," Profar said. "That's my goal. Just get better."

Position does not matter to Gallo, either. He was drafted as a third baseman, but has been willing to try the outfield and first base when asked. The Rangers will find him a place in the lineup when he is ready.

It's all about the offense and tapping into his considerable power potential. He hit 25 home runs with a .529 slugging percentage in 359 at-bats at Triple-A last season, but was just 1-for-25 with 19 strikeouts in limited Major League duty.

Gallo steals second

Assistant hitting coach Justin Mashore visited Gallo this winter in Las Vegas and they worked on some mechanics. Gallo adjusted his base to take a calmer approach to the plate. But the big thing with Gallo is building his confidence and giving a competitive at-bat every time.

"Knowing you can go out there and compete every day," hitting coach Anthony Iapoce said. "When you're confident, the swing falls into place. That's what we have been seeing in the cages."

Gallo hoped to come to camp and compete for a spot at first base. He turned down an opportunity to play for Italy in the World Baseball Classic just for that reason. But the Rangers signed Mike Napoli, so that's not going to happen. Like Profar, his best chance to play every day could be in left.

"Wherever they want me to play, I'll play," Gallo said. "Last year was tough, but it's part of the process. You learn from it. I'm not worried about it. One day I'll be here [for good]. Hopefully this will be the one."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for since 2006. 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.