SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Outfielder Joey Gallo is sidelined with a strained right groin muscle, and the Rangers are unsure if he’ll be ready for Opening Day on March 28 against the Cubs.
But Gallo insists there is no doubt about it.
“Yeah, I’ll be in the lineup. … 100 percent,” Gallo said Sunday. “It feels really good today after just doing treatment the last couple of days. I could play today if I needed to. There is no reason to risk it right now.”
The Rangers feel the same way about first baseman Ronald Guzmán, and he was scratched from Sunday’s game against the D-backs with a sore left knee. Guzman had surgery on the knee in 2013 and said it occasionally bothers him.
“I feel like it is swollen, but it is not,” Guzman said. “It’s tight. I was catching ground balls regular today and I was good. Then I went to the cage and hit, and I felt some pressure on the back side of my knee. When I put too much pressure on it, working out too heavy, it gets tight. I am going to rest it a little bit and it will be fine."
Gallo said the groin started bothering him about a week ago, but he underwent treatment and it was fine through last Wednesday’s off-day. Then he felt the muscle flare up again on Thursday against the Royals.
He underwent an MRI on Friday, and the diagnosis was a mild strain. He is expected to resume baseball activities on Monday, but the Rangers don’t have a target date for when he will play in a game. If Gallo is unable to be ready for Opening Day, it would open up a spot for Willie Calhoun at least at the beginning of the season.
“Anytime somebody is out, you are concerned,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “Obviously we are going to be really cautious with him. Hopefully he won’t miss too much time. If he is only going to be out three days, he’s probably going to miss six. There is no reason to push this at this point. We want him to be healthy for Opening Day, and that’s what we are looking at right now.”
Guzman has had a strong spring offensively, hitting .323 (10-for-31) with three home runs. He has a .371 on-base percentage and a .645 slugging percentage.
Gallo hasn’t been as productive, hitting .241 (7-for-29) with three doubles. He is still looking for his first home run, but his focus has been on controlling the strike zone and hitting the ball to all fields.
“I think it has been good,” Gallo said. “I have been feeling good at the plate. That’s what’s important. The results are what they are, but I’ve been feeling good at the plate, chasing less pitches. That’s always good. I feel pretty confident about it.”
The Rangers want Gallo to be able to finish off his progress and be ready for Opening Day. He had 55 at-bats in Spring Training last year and 53 in 2017.
“He is going to start hitting again sometime after the weekend, so he’ll get it back,” Woodward said. “You just worry (missing) the at-bats. I would love for him to be getting the at-bats and keep building off what he has done so far, so that way when the season starts, you hit the ground running. Anytime guys miss games, it’s not great, but hopefully he comes back and is able to play two or three before we break and he can hit the ground running at that point.”