You love to see it.
The Texas Rangers played their first spring training game of the season on Sunday in Surprise, AZ against the KC Royals, kicking off the next month of exhibition games that will lead up to the regular season opener at Kansas City on April 1.
Don’t tell Joey Gallo that these games don’t count for anything of substance, though, or else he might do to you what he did to a baseball in his first at-bat of 2021.
Joey Gallo predictably hit the first Texas Rangers home run of 2021.
It was a windy day in Arizona, but no one should have been surprised (pun intended) at the fact that Joey Gallo managed to beat the wind with a jack to the pull side.
Gallo doesn’t settle for cheapies, either. When he gets his wooden barrel on the baseball, it travels a long distance.
Perhaps the slugger’s new custom-made bat and his revamped plate approach are quickly paying dividends, as Gallo looks to complete a bounce-back offensively coming off a down year in 2020 that saw him hit 10 home runs over the 60 games, but struggle to do much else with the bat (.378 SLG and .679 OPS).
Of course, Sunday’s game was just the first in a long line of them, but if Gallo’s bomb was any indication, a comeback campaign could be imminent.
As for other happenings in this game, lefty Wes Benjamin made the start for the Texas Rangers against the KC Royals and pitched a scoreless inning with no walks or strikeouts, allowing two hits.
Though it’s important not to take too much stock of early exhibition games, performances like this one from Benjamin will only solidify his case to make the Rangers’ Opening Day roster.
Willie Calhoun nabbed his first hit of the spring with a single off Royals’ lefty Kris Bubic, an early encouraging sign as Calhoun is also looking to bounce back in 2021.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa walked in his two plate appearances.
Nick Solak and Ronald Guzman each collected hits as well.
Top prospects Josh Jung, Davis Wendzel and Steele Walker got some action, as did roster hopeful Andy Ibanez and first base prospect Curtis Terry.
The game played a total of six innings, which could be something of a commonplace practice this spring due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.