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Joey Gallo joins Dodgers looking for a ‘fresh re-start’ after struggles in New York

Joey Gallo joins Dodgers looking for a ‘fresh re-start’ after struggles in New York

SAN FRANCISCO — Joey Gallo knew his time in New York was coming to an end, allowing him to get a headstart on regrowing the beard he had to shave a year ago when he was traded to the Yankees who do not allow their players to have beards.

“I had a good idea that I was getting moved. I was ready with the beard,” Gallo joked after joining the Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon at Oracle Park. “I was just kind of waiting to figure out where I was going to go. That’s always kind of the weird part. But then, I got the call and they said, ‘Hey, you’re going to L.A.’ I was psyched.’”

Part of that excitement was the number of familiar faces in the Dodgers’ clubhouse – like online video game opponent Cody Bellinger and Hanser Alberto, who came up through the Texas Rangers’ system with Gallo.

The question now is whether Gallo’s game will regrow with the Dodgers as well. A two-time All-Star with two 40-home run seasons with the Rangers, Gallo struggled miserably since the Yankees acquired him at the trade deadline a year ago. He became a target of fan ire in New York.

He arrives with the Dodgers sporting a .159 batting average this season that would tie for the worst since 1947 (with at least 273 plate appearances).

“Baseball is a tough game. Sometimes things just don’t go your way,” Gallo said. “You try to start doing different things. And once you struggle, especially in a place like that, you start to feel it a little more. You try to do too much. And sometimes that can get in your way. I feel like sometimes I tried to do too much, I tried to play too well. I just didn’t play my game.

“I wish I had played better. You never want to play bad no matter where you are. But I’m excited for a new fresh restart.”

Gallo said he hasn’t had any conversations with the Dodgers’ hitting coaches where they offered solutions for his struggles. Instead, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has told him “just be myself and play my game and be an athlete, which I take pride in being, and things will work out the way they will.”

Even at his best, Gallo was a high-power, high-strikeout hitter – a prime example of the modern “three true outcomes” hitter (walks, strikeouts and home runs). His goal is to rediscover that.

“Obviously I want to get back to being a threat at the plate again and doing damage,” he said. “But I think I learned a lot about myself in growing through those struggles. I want to be a good hitter, though. I definitely need to hit a little bit better.”

SIM GAME

Reliever Blake Treinen threw to hitters again Wednesday afternoon – including Roberts, who stepped in at one point.

Roberts said Treinen touched 97 mph with his fastball and “his stuff was good.” Depending on how Treinen recovers from the workout, Roberts said he could repeat the sim-game session a third time or begin a rehab assignment soon.

Meanwhile, Brusdar Graterol threw another bullpen session and touched 100 mph, according to Roberts. Graterol is “very close” to going on a rehab assignment.

REHABS CONTINUE

Chris Taylor made the second start of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday night and hit two home runs. Taylor played both second and third base after playing left field Tuesday and went 3 for 4.

In the same game, right-hander Dustin May made his third rehab start with OKC and went four innings, throwing 62 pitches. May allowed a run on two hits and a walk while striking out six.

May is expected to make one more start with OKC before joining the Dodgers.

Edwin Rios continued his rehab assignment, going 1 for 4 with a double Wednesday.

VIN TRIBUTE

The Dodgers and Giants assembled on the foul lines for a pregame tribute to Vin Scully on Wednesday. A moment of silence was held throughout baseball to honor the legendary broadcaster, who passed away Tuesday night at 94.

The Dodgers added a patch to their jerseys featuring “VIN” and a microphone on a black background. They will wear the patches for the remainder of the season. A pregame tribute is planned for their next home game, Friday night at Dodger Stadium, with the details to be announced.

Funeral services for Scully are pending.

UP NEXT

Dodgers (LHP Clayton Kershaw, 7-3, 2.66 ERA) at Giants (RHP Jakob Junis, 4-2, 2.98 ERA), Thursday, 12:45 p.m., SportsNet LA, MLB Network, 570 AM


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