CHICAGO — It’s been two weeks since the Yankees made their big trade-deadline splash, bringing in Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo to invigorate what had been a sluggish lineup that was too right-handed.
Now, Rizzo is on the COVID injured list, with manager Aaron Boone saying on WFAN Friday the first baseman is scheduled to have his cardiac workup Monday and then will be evaluated as to when he could rejoin the lineup.
Though Gallo has remained healthy — no small feat considering the Yankees’ issues with injuries and COVID throughout the season — he’s had, at best, a disappointing start to his tenure with the team.
After another hitless night in Thursday’s loss to the White Sox in the “Field of Dreams” game in Dyersville, Iowa, Gallo fell to 7-for-50, with four walks, a homer, three RBIs, a dozen walks and 23 strikeouts, to go along with a .586 OPS since joining the team.
But his struggles go beyond his arrival in The Bronx.
In his last 23 games — and 93 plate appearances — Gallo has just nine hits, and only six of those have been for extra bases.
Though he’s walked 14 times, he’s whiffed 38 times and his OPS during the stretch is .502.
It comes on the heels of a shaky 2020 season, which most observers are willing to overlook because of the unique nature of the COVID-shortened schedule.
Scouts who have seen him recently remain bullish on the 27-year-old, in spite of the extended rut.
“He’s too good not to hit and come out of it,’’ one AL scout said. “He’s always been streaky. This is a bad streak and a bad time for a bad streak.”
The Yankees knew they were getting a player who would rack up strikeouts, but they also took pains to point out how well-rounded Gallo was, both at the plate and in the field.
They’ve yet to see it since he’s been with the organization.
“He’s gonna strike out,’’ Boone said during the road trip. “Along with it, you’re gonna get a guy that over time is going to get on [base] a ton. He’s gonna hit with authority and he’s gonna be a really great two-way player for us. I think he’s in a good spot right now.’’
Aaron Judge also praised Gallo in Kansas City, when asked about Gallo’s start with the Yankees.
“I wouldn’t say he’s struggling,” Judge said. “He’s a guy that’s still getting his walks. I think that’s one thing that I see in there that’s pretty important. When a guy is struggling, usually he’s not getting on base. He’s getting on base, he’s taking close pitches, he’s had some key homers for us, some key doubles for us. And I think he’s just another guy just getting in his groove.”
There were some positive signs Thursday, such as when Gallo flied out to the wall in dead center in the first inning and worked walks in both the sixth and ninth.
But he also grounded out with the bases loaded to end the seventh.
His ground-ball rate is a career-high 35.4 percent, according to FanGraphs, and the lefty power the Yankees craved has been almost nonexistent. Gallo’s lone homer was hit into the short porch in right at Yankee Stadium.
After the Yankees acquired Gallo, general manager Brian Cashman said he’d been trying to trade for the outfielder for months, and Boone said, “He’s a great player. Nobody’s perfect. No player is perfect. It’s hard to argue we’re not a lot better team by adding Joey Gallo.”
So far, that hasn’t been the case.
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