Rangers Gallo enjoying first spring experience

Rangers prospect Joey Gallo enjoying first spring training experience in Arizona.

SURPRISE, Ariz. – Joey Gallo opened eyes last year when he hit 22 home runs in 206 at-bats after the Texas Rangers drafted him in first round of the draft.

Now Gallo, who is just 19, has his eyes wide open as he's getting to take cuts against the Texas pitchers during their batting practice sessions on the backfields at the Surprise Recreation Complex.

"It's kind of like a shock to me," said Gallo, who was in high school at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas this time last year. "When I'm here it's like whatever. When I leave the field I'm thinking I just hit off Yu Darvish. It's a lot of fun but it's like it's not real. A year ago I couldn't have imagined this."

Gallo, a 6-5 third baseman who played in the Arizona Rookie League and Class A last year, has been able to hold his own in batting practice. While the pitchers are working on stuff, not throwing 100 percent and the hitters know what's coming, they still have to hit the ball. Gallo has been able to do that.

He had the lone hard-hit ball off Yu Darvish in his Friday BP session and homered twice off Evan Meek Wednesday. Meek, who made the All-Star team in 2010 with Pittsburgh, couldn't believe Gallo was 19.

"The kid looked like he was 30," Meek said. "You almost have to shrug it off. You're like ‘Dude, really?' I don't want to see 500 foot homers the second day of spring training. It doesn't really matter. As a pitcher you can tell when a guy has a nice swing and he did."

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