ANAHEIM, Calif. — Joey Gallo has big shoes to fill.
The 23-year-old Texas Rangers infielder/outfielder is subbing for injured third baseman Adrian Beltre, and he is likely to remain in that spot for the immediate future after Beltre recently experienced a setback in his recovery.
Gallo, who is hitting .174, probably will be in the lineup again Wednesday when the Rangers continue their series against the Los Angeles Angels. He went 0-for-3 with a walk Tuesday as the Rangers lost 6-5 to the Angels in 10 innings.
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“Obviously, we’d like to have (Beltre) out there, but, again, it’s a purely day-to-day process,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said.
There is no active player in the major leagues with more home runs against the Angels than Beltre. He has hit 40 of his 445 homers against Los Angeles, so one might imagine the relief the Angels feel knowing he is doubtful for the three-game series.
The 38-year-old veteran began the season on the disabled list with a strained right calf, but he was hoping to be activated by Sunday. Instead, while testing the calf on Saturday, he felt pain in a different part of the same calf.
An MRI confirmed the strain, but there is no timetable for his return. Though anything more serious appears to have been ruled out, Beltre is growing more frustrated.
“It’s not just tightness,” Beltre said Tuesday. “My whole body is tight. This is something that is not right, so that’s why I’m trying to figure out what it is, and that’s why we went to doctors who know about that.”
The Rangers will attempt to figure out Angels right-hander Jesse Chavez (1-0, 1.59 ERA) on Wednesday in the middle game of the series. Chavez is 2-3 with a 5.50 ERA in 16 career games against Texas.
Right-hander A.J. Griffin (0-0, 10.80 ERA) will start for the Rangers against an Angels lineup that is off to a hot start. Los Angeles’ regular batting order has five players — Yunel Escobar, C.J. Cron, Andrelton Simmons, Jefry Marte and Mike Trout — hitting .300 or better
Griffin is 3-2 with a 4.23 ERA in eight starts against the Angels. He also has done fairly well against Trout and Albert Pujols: Trout is hitting .263 (5-for-19) with two homers; Pujols is batting .143 (2-for-14) with one homer.
Though the Angels are scoring runs at a nice clip to start the season, manager Mike Scioscia likes to talk about the defense.
“I definitely think it’s our best defensive team,” Scioscia said. “We’ve had some terrific defensive teams over the years, guys that were really good at making plays. But I think the dynamic this year is the range; it’s the best we’ve ever had at a number of positions.”
In particular, the Angels have improved with newcomers in left field (Cameron Maybin), second base (Danny Espinosa) and catcher (Martin Maldonado). And the club also has two of the best defensive players at their positions, Trout in center fielder and Simmons at shortstop.