Rangers' Gallo Excited to be Back, Details "Strange Process" After Testing Positive for COVID-19
ARLINGTON, Texas — After a rather cryptic absence, Joey Gallo is back with his Texas Rangers teammates at Globe Life Field.
Gallo tested positive for COVID-19 on multiple occasions while undergoing Major League Baseball's intake testing process, which delayed any possibility of getting on the field to prepare for a unique 60-game season.
"It was a strange process to go through. There wasn’t much anybody could have done because the test came up positive," Gallo told reporters on Saturday. "You can’t let anybody back to the field. It was weird, it was hard to get real answers on if I really had it or not. I didn’t have any symptoms either. That’s what made it more interesting. As of right now I am coming up negative and that’s how I am hoping to stay the rest of the season."
MLB's intake testing process has been under fire since its inception, which Sports Illustrated's Emma Baccellieri fully detailed in Friday's Daily Cover story. Some of the issues with the testing process include testers not showing up, tests not being shipped to MLB's lab in Utah, and skepticism of the test's accuracy. Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels confirmed the club hasn't had any issues getting tested or having tests shipped out.
Gallo's case was certainly perplexing. He was asymptomatic, which is not necessarily uncommon. However, Gallo took a finger-prick antibody test that came back showing no antibodies. The entire process leaves Gallo with at least a little bit of doubt whether he had COVID-19 at all.
"I wish I had an answer. I honestly don't know," Gallo said. "I tested negative on the nasal swab test. I didn't infect anybody else. I don't have antibodies, according to the test I took. It's tough to say 100 percent that I was positive. It sounds cliché but, i just don't know."
If Gallo was actually positive, he's more fortunate than some of the other positive cases around baseball. While Gallo didn't have any symptoms, the testing process alone was taxing. With such a demanding season on the horizon, Gallo was forced to settle for not only self-quarantining, but also some uncertainty while his team hit the ground running at Globe Life Field.
"It was tough, mentally. I didn’t have any symptoms so I can’t speak on that but mentally it was tough to stay focused," Gallo said. "I'd look on Twitter and I see our team playing these scrimmages, everybody is at the field and working, and every team is getting ready for the season ad I’m sitting at home. It’s tough but it seems like guys who have gotten infected throughout the league, they have more symptoms than I do. I can’t speak on that. But I felt completely fine. It was more tough mentally to be away from the game I love and not being able to be with my team."
With less than two weeks before Opening Day at Globe Life Field, Gallo's focus has now entirely shifted to getting as much work in as possible. The Rangers expect Gallo to be their most impactful bat in the lineup. Two weeks off could potentially slow Gallo down at the start of the season. As the Rangers prepare to ramp up competition in the upcoming week, Gallo will have to make the most of it.
"As soon as that first game comes around, you’ve got to be ready to roll," Gallo said. "There’s no, ‘I had a bad first month.’ We’re only getting two months. That’s what was tough about missing so much time—the two weeks—I don’t have a long season this year. If it was 162 [games] and I miss two weeks, it’s no big deal. But with a 60-game season, every single practice, every single day is very important.”