Gallo batting cleanup in Rangers' shakeup

Odor moved up to No. 2 spot; Napoli dropped to 7th

May 4th, 2017

HOUSTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister is shaking up his lineup, trying to spark an offense that is high in strikeouts and home runs but low in on-base percentage and manufacturing runs.

Most notable is Banister moving Joey Gallo into the cleanup spot while breaking up and Mike Napoli. They had been hitting 4-5, but Odor was moved up to No. 2 behind and Napoli was dropped to No. 7.

"You can look at the obvious, where some of the strikeouts have been, splitting them up," Banister said. "Putting Odor in the two-hole is kind of a mental mindset change and the look of the four- or five-hole as opposed to the two-hole. One has to be a little bit more hitterish."

Napoli entered Wednesday hitting .136 with two home runs and six RBIs in his last 18 games. He struck out four times on Tuesday and has 24 in his last 66 at-bats.

"Everything is easy when everything is going right, but these are the times where things are tough, it's when you need to lock in and really focus on each other and not yourself," Napoli said. "It's only human, I want to do really good, but maybe get back in focusing on doing the team thing."

Odor was hitting .138 with one home run and seven RBIs in his last 22 games. He had 18 strikeouts in his last 87 at-bats.

The shakeup also shows the Rangers' growing confidence in Gallo, and the feeling is he is ready to handle a higher profile in the lineup. This is the first time he has hit higher than sixth this season.

"I wouldn't have done it unless I didn't feel like he was in a good enough spot to do it," Banister said. "He has done a lot of work. He showed a lot of confidence in us during Spring Training. I think he showed a lot of confidence in himself, so I'm willing to reward that and show him the same confidence."

Ross to throw simulated game

Right-hander is scheduled to throw a two-inning simulated game this weekend in Seattle as he continues to come back from shoulder surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.

The Rangers were hoping Ross would be ready by early May, but his rehab program was slowed down by spasms in his upper back. He threw a 30-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday without issue but still needs at least three or four starts in the Minor Leagues before he can be an option. That may be in early June.

"He is going to have a two-inning simulated game and go from there," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We are going to take it outing to outing. We are several weeks away."

Rangers beat

• Home runs have accounted for 53.7 percent of the Rangers' runs. That's the second highest in the American League entering Wednesday. The Yankees led at 54.3. The Padres are at 54.6 percent of their runs scored by home runs, the highest in the Majors.

• The Rangers hit five home runs in Tuesday's 8-7 loss to the Astros. It's the 67th time that the Rangers or Washington Senators have hit at least five home runs in a game since 1961. They were 66-0 in those games before Tuesday.

• The Rangers' bullpen has two saves through 27 games. That's the club's fewest since 1984.