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Gallo trying to get into rhythm after quarantine

@Sullivan_Ranger
July 11, 2020

ARLINGTON -- Joey Gallo is feeling great physically. He just needs to get as many at-bats as possible before the Rangers open the season against the Rockies on July 24. The mental ordeal was the toughest part, Gallo said, and he is still trying to sort through it all after

ARLINGTON -- Joey Gallo is feeling great physically. He just needs to get as many at-bats as possible before the Rangers open the season against the Rockies on July 24.

The mental ordeal was the toughest part, Gallo said, and he is still trying to sort through it all after being quarantined in his Dallas apartment for two weeks because he tested positive for COVID-19.

Gallo isn’t even sure he was actually infected by the virus, in part because he was asymptomatic during the entire time he was away from the Rangers.

"I wish I had an answer,” Gallo said. “I honestly don't know. I tested negative on the nasal swab test. I didn't infect anybody else. I don't have antibodies, according to the test I took. It's tough to say 100 percent that I was positive."

Gallo spent the last two months of the shutdown working out with a group of his teammates at Globe Life Field. He was saliva-tested on June 27 and found out two days later the results came back positive.

A nasal swab was done on June 29 and came back negative. But a second saliva test was positive, and Gallo was placed in quarantine until he produced two negative tests in a 24-hour period. He was cleared on Friday and has worked out with the Rangers back-to-back days.

“Mentally, it was tough to stay focused,” Gallo said. “I look on Twitter and I see our team playing these scrimmages -- everybody is at the field and working and getting ready for the season, and I’m sitting at home. I felt completely fine, but for me, it was more tough mentally to be away from the game I love and not being able to be with my team.”

Gallo tried to do as much as possible while he was stuck in his apartment. He went back to hitting off the tee and into a net, a workout that was a big social media hit in March.

“I've got a Wiffle Ball machine,” Gallo said. “I was hitting off that just to help hand-eye coordination. And I was training on my balcony. I have a bunch of different bands, so I'd wrap it around my railing on my balcony. But hitting off a tee is different than hitting a 100-mile-per-hour fastball.”

Gallo spent his first two days back taking batting practice and did not play in the Rangers’ intrasquad games. The Rangers are off Sunday, and Gallo is planning to play in Monday’s game.

“For me, it’s just getting as many at-bats as I can,” Gallo said. “I told [manager Chris Woodward] I want to play today and yesterday. They wouldn’t let me because I have been out for two weeks. I just need as many reps, baseball-wise, as possible. Physically, I feel great. I am in great shape.”

Gallo found out last season what it’s like to miss significant time. He was enjoying his first All-Star season before being shut down the final two months because of a broken hamate bone in his right wrist. He played in just 70 games, finishing at .253/.389/.598 with 22 home runs and 49 RBIs.

The Rangers were hoping to see that production from Gallo over 162 games this season. Now, the goal is for him to just stay healthy under difficult circumstances.

“It was a strange process to go through,” Gallo said. “There wasn’t much anybody could have done because the test came up positive. You can’t let anybody back to the field. It was weird; it was hard to get real answers on if I really had it or not.”

Players must be tested every other day during the season, and Gallo said that will be on his mind every time he takes the saliva test.

“I had coffee today, and I wasn’t sure we were doing one because we are off tomorrow,” Gallo said. “I was like, ‘I had coffee. Is that going to make it positive?’ I’m on edge going through that process and not knowing and having to miss so much time.

“It’s crucial. You have 60 games. … Missing two weeks is huge. Everybody is a little nervous about that. Nobody wants to come up positive. We are taking every precaution, and everybody is on board with it.”

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.