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Gallo applauds Bieber for All-Star MVP win

@Sullivan_Ranger
July 11, 2019

ARLINGTON -- There were more than a few people associated with the Rangers who felt that Joey Gallo should have won the Most Valuable Player Award, instead of Indians pitcher Shane Bieber, after the American League's 4-3 All-Star Game victory over the National League on Tuesday night. But Gallo said

ARLINGTON -- There were more than a few people associated with the Rangers who felt that Joey Gallo should have won the Most Valuable Player Award, instead of Indians pitcher Shane Bieber, after the American League's 4-3 All-Star Game victory over the National League on Tuesday night.

But Gallo said he wasn’t disappointed that Bieber was selected over him.

“Nah … I thought Bieber did a great job, honestly,” Gallo said. “I’m happy for him. It was pretty special being there when he did that; it was pretty electric. I’m really happy for him.”

Gallo hit a seventh-inning home run off Giants left-hander Will Smith to give the American League a 4-1 lead. That proved to be the winning margin after the National League scored two in the eighth.

Another MVP possibility was Astros outfielder Michael Brantley, who drove in the American League’s first run with a second-inning double. Bieber won after striking out Willson Contreras, Ketel Marte and Ronald Acuna Jr. in order in the fifth.

“I knew it was going to be between me, him and Brantley,” Gallo said. “Everybody kept telling me, 'Which truck are you going to pick, which truck are you going to pick?' I’m like, 'I don’t know, I didn’t even get it yet. Let’s see if they give it to me.' That’s what made me think I was going to get it more, but I knew it wasn’t a given that I was going to get it. Like I said, I’m happy for him. He’s a great guy.”

Gallo was back in the Rangers' lineup on Thursday against the Astros after his trip to Cleveland. A year ago, he spent the All-Star break in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

“Cleveland or Cabo … different experiences,” Gallo said. “Cabo was probably a little more personally fun, but baseball-wise, Cleveland was really fun. I’ll save Cabo for the offseason. It was a lot of fun being in the clubhouse. I was just, like, staring at those guys. It was crazy. It was cool.”

Pence starts rehab assignment
Outfielder Hunter Pence was assigned to Double-A Frisco on a medical rehabilitation assignment. He is expected to be used at designated hitter on Thursday and Friday night, and then the Rangers will decide when he will be activated.

Pence has not played since June 16 in Cincinnati because of a strained right groin muscle. He went on a rehab assignment on July 1 but aggravated the injury playing for Frisco. The Rangers are trying to be more cautious this time around.

“If all goes well, he’ll DH today, probably would DH tomorrow I’m guessing,” manager Chris Woodward said. “I don’t see a need to force him back, even if things go well today, and then I’m hoping at some point in this series we might be able to activate him. I’m not 100 percent sure on that. We’ve got to see how today goes. Based on the last time he DHed, it didn’t go that well, so hopefully this time around it does. We’ll be able to kind of clearly make a decision after tonight’s game, what we expect.”

Catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa is also playing for Frisco on rehab. He is no longer bothered by a sprained middle finger on his right hand, but the Rangers want him to continue to get at-bats. He is 6-for-24 with three doubles in seven games between Triple-A Nashville and Frisco.

“We’ve got to talk about it and see when we want to bring him back, because I know he’s pretty much fully healthy,” Woodward said. “I do want to see him get some more at-bats, just so when he comes here, he can just kind of hit the ground running. It’s not such a hurry to get him back as it is Hunter.”

Rangers beat
• The Rangers are skipping right-hander Adrian Sampson and will go with a four-man rotation because they are off on Monday and next Thursday. The Rangers won’t need a fifth starter until July 23 in Seattle.

• Texas called up left-hander Kyle Bird from Nashville. He replaces Joe Palumbo, who was optioned to Nashville after Sunday’s appearance against the Twins. This will be Bird's fifth tour with the Rangers this season.

• Thursday marked the fourth time in Rangers history that they played the only game on the MLB schedule that day. The other three came on Opening Day. This was the first one played in Arlington.

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.