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Pence on injury: 'It’s very minor, not too bad'

Palumbo earns start Wednesday; second-round pick signs
@Sullivan_Ranger
June 18, 2019

ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Hunter Pence is hoping for a quick return from the injured list after being diagnosed with a strained right groin muscle. Pence was placed on the IL Monday, and is eligible to come off a week from Thursday. “It’s very minor, not too bad,” Pence said

ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Hunter Pence is hoping for a quick return from the injured list after being diagnosed with a strained right groin muscle. Pence was placed on the IL Monday, and is eligible to come off a week from Thursday.

“It’s very minor, not too bad,” Pence said Tuesday. “Hopefully I can get back sooner.”

Pence, who joins outfielder Joey Gallo on the injured list, is hitting .294 with 15 home runs, 48 RBIs and a .608 slugging percentage in 55 games. The Rangers have not given an estimated timetable on when Pence will be ready.

“The way he is moving around, it doesn’t seem to be as significant as when he first hurt it,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “We are hoping it won’t be longer than 10 days or two weeks.”

Gallo has reported to the Rangers' complex in Surprise, Ariz., to continue his workouts, and the goal is get him back next Tuesday. That’s when the Rangers go back on the road and face the Tigers in Detroit.

“He is fully swinging, he’s swinging 100 percent,” manager Chris Woodward said. “He doesn’t feel anything. It is probably going to be a week of games or live BP. I think that’s reasonable. We want him back tomorrow but…probably the first game in Detroit.”

Palumbo to get extended look

The Rangers officially announced left-hander Joe Palumbo is starting on Wednesday, and this will be not be just a one-start assignment. Palumbo is going to be given an extended chance to earn a spot in the Rangers' rotation.

“He is going to start tomorrow,” Woodward said. “After that, unless he were to go down and get hurt, I assume he will stay in that for the time being. I’m excited for him. Got the first one out of the way, maybe see him a few times and see how he responds. He is deserving. There is a spot he is filling, and right now he is our best option. I’m excited about it.”

Palumbo made his Major League debut on June 8 in the first game of a doubleheader against the Athletics. He opened the game with three scoreless innings before allowing four runs in the fourth. He was optioned to Double-A Frisco after the game, but the Rangers have since moved Drew Smyly to the bullpen.

That created a spot for Palumbo. A pressing concern is this is Palumbo’s first full season since returning from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, and he has already throown 53 innings at Double-A.

“He will run out of innings if he were to start the rest of the year for us,” Woodward said. “We have to be mindful of that. We want to make sure we take care of him right now. He is not going to throw 110 pitches. He is nowhere near that. We will cap him at 80 or 90 at the most. There may be a start or two where he gets close to 100, but I don’t see why we would do that.”

Rangers sign second-round pick

The Rangers have signed right-handed pitcher Ryan Garcia, their second-round pick from the 2019 MLB Draft out of UCLA. He is signed for $1,469,900, which was the assigned value for the 50th overall pick in the Draft.

Garcia was named the 2019 Pac-12 Conference Pitcher of the Year for the Bruins. He finished with a 10-1 record and 1.44 ERA over 16 games and 94 innings, while posting 117 strikeouts against just 26 walks. Opponents hit .160 off him.

Garcia is leaving for Surprise on Wednesday and is expected to pitch approximately 20 innings at Class A Spokane this season.

“This means a lot,” Garcia said. “It’s definitely the start of something new. I don’t know what to expect, but it’s exciting.”

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.