It appears Joey Gallo's promising 2019 season may be over, after all.
Rangers manager Chris Woodward acknowledged the possibility Wednesday for the first time since Gallo broke the hamate bone in his right hand nearly two months ago. The club later announced Gallo had returned to Dallas for "further evaluation" after what was supposed to be a final tune-up for rejoining the lineup. There is believed to be no new injury, but Gallo continues to feel soreness and weakness in the hand.
Gallo began the week in Arizona and had been scheduled to participate in simulated games in advance of returning this weekend in Oakland. Gallo took four at-bats Monday but did not play again. Gallo could not be reached for comment Wednesday. The club said a further updated would be forthcoming Friday.
Gallo had surgery to remove the small bone, which is considered obsolete, on July 25. The usual rehab time is four to six weeks. Given Gallo's size and the torque he uses in swinging a bat, the Rangers had estimated his return would be on the longer side of the scale. Thursday will be eight weeks since the surgery.
"It still doesn't feel good," Woodward said. "I want him to play. He wants to play. But we will have to decide what makes sense. The grip strength still isn't there. There is no guarantee. We might shut him down. With Joey, you are also looking at the future."
The biggest issue after hamate surgery is weakness in the area of the incision that is made in the hand. But the Rangers have said there is no concern Gallo could re-injure the hand. Woodward amended his thoughts Wednesday.