Prized int'l signee Lora joins Rangers for BP

September 12th, 2019

ARLINGTON -- Bayron Lora, 16, having already agreed to a $3.9 million signing bonus, passed his physical on Wednesday and went right to work. Lora, ranked as the third-best international prospect this summer by MLB Pipeline, stepped onto the field at Globe Life Park for the first time to take batting practice.

He was joined in the early afternoon session by Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Danny Santana.

“Taking batting practice with those guys is a dream come true,” Lora said.

“I think at his age I was still getting in trouble at school,” Gallo said.

Mazara and Gallo were out on the field for a reason. Mazara was returning to the lineup on Wednesday night against the Rays after being sidelined for eight days with a strained left oblique muscle. This BP session was one final test.

“I’m not 100 percent, but I can play,” Mazara said after smashing a few balls into the upper deck in right field.

The Rangers could use him.

“Our expectation is for him to stay healthy,” manager Chris Woodward said. “I know he’s not going to be 100 percent, but if he is 90 or 95 percent, he should be able to play. He needs at-bats. He was in a good place before he got hurt. He was moving the needle forward. We want to see more of it.”

Gallo is still recovering from right wrist surgery and hasn’t played since July 23. He is getting closer, as evidenced by a few moon shots of his own into the same right-field upper deck.

“That’s not hard to do here,” Gallo said.

Gallo will continue to take batting practice in Arlington for the next few days and then report to the Rangers' Spring Training facility in Surprise, Ariz., sometime this weekend.

“Lovely place,” Gallo said. “Can’t wait to get to the desert.”

The plan is for Gallo to play in Instructional League games and get as many at-bats as possible. The Rangers are hoping to get him back by Sept. 20, when they open a three-game series in Oakland. At that point, the Rangers will have nine games left in the season.

“I feel all right,” Gallo said. “It’s getting better. I just need to get at-bats.”

Lora took it all in as he watched Gallo, Mazara and Santana send balls flying into the seats off Rangers field coordinator Jayce Tingler.

“I’ve loved the Rangers for a long time, ever since I was a little kid,” Lora said.

Favorite player?

“Pudge Rodriguez,” Lora said.

Lora was born in 2003, the same year Rodriguez led the Marlins to a World Series championship. Now Lora, a Dominican native, is 6-foot-3 and somewhere around 200 pounds. He doesn’t look much younger than Gallo or Mazara. He just doesn’t have his driver’s license.

“You don’t need a license to hit, just to drive,” Lora said.

His batting practice session didn’t cost the Rangers any baseballs. A right-handed hitter, Lora concentrated on driving the ball to the opposite field. A couple hit off the right-field wall and a few others one-hopped it, but nothing went out of the park. He resisted any temptation to start swinging for the fences and emulate the accomplished sluggers around him.

“My approach was to stay up the middle and barrel the ball,” Lora said. “I’m not concerned about hitting home runs. I’ll do that later.”

He is headed in the same direction as Gallo. Lora will head to Arizona on Thursday and join the Rangers' Instructional League program. Next summer, he is ticketed for Spring Training and then the Dominican Summer League team.

That is, unless he impresses the Rangers so much that they decide he could start in the Arizona Rookie League. That league is usually populated by high school Draft picks and players who have graduated from the DSL.

“The Dominican Summer League … that’s the plan right now,” said Hamilton Wise, the Rangers' assistant director of international scouting. “We’ll see what happens in Spring Training.”

Rangers remember 9-11
The Rangers commemorated the events of Sept. 11, 2001, with members of the Arlington Police and Fire Departments holding a giant American flag on the field and a Texas flag on Greene’s Hill during the national anthem. A flyover of a B-2 stealth bomber accompanied the anthem.

Players, coaches and umpires wore special caps with a side patch of “We Shall Not Forget." Royalties from the sale of the caps will be donated to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the Pentagon Memorial Fund and the Flight 93 National Memorial.

Rangers beat
• Pitcher Jesse Chavez underwent surgery on Monday to have loose bodies removed from his right elbow. He will need eight weeks of recovery before he begins throwing again, but he should be ready for Spring Training.

• Outfielder Scott Heineman was back with the Rangers on Wednesday after missing the previous two games with a bad case of the flu.

• Woodward on the Rangers' need to pursue a third baseman this winter: “Pretty big. Yeah. I’m guessing … we will be in some pursuit of a third baseman. Not going to name names, but I’m guessing that’s going to be in some talks to possibly sign a [free agent] third baseman.”