CINCINNATI -- Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo, on the injured list with a strained left oblique muscle, is scheduled to fly to Arizona on Monday to begin more rehab work and is hoping to be activated in the next 7-10 days.
His return could mean the end of his time in center field if Delino DeShields continues to play well. Gallo began the season in left field, and that’s likely where he will return.
“I thought Joey did a really good job in center,” manager Chris Woodward said. “I don’t know. I don’t like to think that five years from now, Joey will be our everyday center fielder. That’s hard for me to answer. If he is our best option, I’m comfortable putting him out there. But Joey’s future in center field, I don’t know.”
DeShields, the Rangers' Opening Day center fielder, was the odd man out when they ran into a logjam in the outfield earlier this season. He was optioned to Triple-A Nashville on May 8 with a .182 average.
He was recalled on June 2 when Gallo went on the injured list and was hitting .333 with a .417 on-base percentage in 12 games going into Saturday.
“If DeShields is on the team, Delino will play center,” Woodward said.
Rookie left-hander Joe Palumbo, the leading candidate to start for the Rangers on Wednesday, pitched three scoreless innings in a start for Double-A Frisco against Northwest Arkansas on Friday. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out four while throwing 48 pitches.
The Rangers limited Palumbo's pitch count in case he goes Wednesday on four days' rest. Palumbo, Texas' No. 7 prospect per MLB Pipeline, has had only one start on as little as four days' rest this season.
The Rangers are considering Palumbo because they want Drew Smyly working out of the bullpen, and they have exhausted almost all other options. Other clubs are also trying to hold on to their starting pitching depth.
“We have probably pursued every potential starting pitching depth available on the market,” assistant general manager Shiraz Rehman said.
Rangers get their man
The Rangers pursued right-handed reliever Jake Petricka on a Minor League contract this winter, but the Brewers landed him with a big-league deal. After shuttling him between Milwaukee and Triple-A San Antonio, the Brewers finally put him through outright waivers and assigned him to Triple-A.
The Rangers acquired him on Friday for a player to be named later and assigned him to Triple-A Nashville. Petricka, who has seven years of Major League experience, had a 3.38 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP for the Brewers but a 1.89 ERA and 0.95 WHIP for San Antonio.
“We thought it was probably a better opportunity for him there to pitch in the big leagues,” Brewers assistant GM Matt Arnold said. “We had him evaluated here pretty good, too, but it was somewhere where they thought it was a faster path to the big leagues for [the Rangers]. For him to have that opportunity, we felt it was the right thing to do by the player to just move him and give him that chance. To his credit, he’s done a good job. He was up here and did fine, and then went down there and made some adjustments. [Triple-A pitching coach] Fred Dabney did an awesome job with him. We felt like it was a better opportunity over there for him, but not an easy call.”
• Right-hander Matt Bush has thrown three scoreless innings in three outings for Frisco since coming off the injured list. He has allowed one hit and struck out three.
“He’s up to 95-96, and his stuff looks good,” Rehman said. “He wants to be here, and we would love to have him back up here. We want to be smart about his health and make sure he is 100 percent ready to go.”
Bush had surgery in September on a partial UCL tear in his right elbow.
• The Rangers released reliever Nick Gardewine earlier this week because they needed a spot on the 40-man roster. Gardewine, who has pitched for the Rangers in each of the past two years, has dealt with a variety of injuries. Rehman said the club is looking to re-sign him to a Minor League contract.
• Catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who is on the injured list with a sprained middle finger on his right throwing hand, is taking batting practice but is not yet ready to throw full speed.