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Beltre impressed by Gallo's at-bats vs. Crew

Kela, Scheppers throw during simulated game in Surprise
Special to MLB.com

PHOENIX -- Spring Training may be the only place where an 0-for-3 game can be something to celebrate, as Rangers slugger Joey Gallo showed during Saturday's 7-1 loss to the Brewers. Gallo had two hard-hit line-drive outs, but he showed he's got his timing and swing close to where he wants to be.

"Two great at-bats," said Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, who walked in his two plate appearances on Saturday. "I wish I could go, instead of 0-for-0, 0-for-2 the way he did. Hitting the ball hard, connecting with the fastball and the breaking ball. It looks like he's improving. The kid just has too much talent. We know that one way or the other he's going to figure it out."

PHOENIX -- Spring Training may be the only place where an 0-for-3 game can be something to celebrate, as Rangers slugger Joey Gallo showed during Saturday's 7-1 loss to the Brewers. Gallo had two hard-hit line-drive outs, but he showed he's got his timing and swing close to where he wants to be.

"Two great at-bats," said Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, who walked in his two plate appearances on Saturday. "I wish I could go, instead of 0-for-0, 0-for-2 the way he did. Hitting the ball hard, connecting with the fastball and the breaking ball. It looks like he's improving. The kid just has too much talent. We know that one way or the other he's going to figure it out."

In his first at-bat Saturday, he hit a certain single to right, except the Brewers had second baseman Jonathan Villar shifted onto the outfield grass down the right-field line and the ball went right at him. In the third inning, Gallo hit another ball hard, but this one right at right fielder Domingo Santana. Gallo flied out to left in his final at-bat.

"It's some of the work that we've seen from Joey starting to prove itself," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "That's what we've got to do, we've got to find the barrel for him. I thought the swings and at-bats were good today."

Gallo, who started Saturday in left field, is hitting .125 in seven spring games, but he hit a mammoth solo homer to straightaway center on Friday and also drew a patient walk in that game.

"Every day, I'm starting to improve on the day-to-day at-bats. It takes time," Gallo said. "You start to get your timing and rhythm, you start seeing pitches and tracking pitches. That's the goal for me, just to stay on an even plane."

Worth noting

• Reliever Jeremy Jeffress pitched for the first time this spring, striking out two in a scoreless fourth inning against the Brewers. Jeffress has been dealing with shoulder issues early in camp.

"His stuff showed up. It was good to see him back out on the field pitching," Banister said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow. The slider was sharp when he kept his line. … The stuff was sharp, swing-and-miss stuff."

• Relievers Keone Kela and Tanner Scheppers each pitched in a simulated game in Surprise, Ariz., on Saturday morning, with Kela tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings and Scheppers throwing a shutout frame. Neither pitcher allowed a hit or a walk. Scheppers had not faced hitters prior to Saturday, while Kela had thrown one previous scoreless inning in a simulated game on Wednesday.

• Left-handers Martin Perez, Cole Hamels and Alex Claudio are all scheduled to pitch in Glendale, Ariz., in a "B" game against the White Sox at 11 a.m. CT on Monday.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com.

Texas Rangers, Joey Gallo