NEW YORK — When Joey Gallo was traded to the Yankees prior to the trade deadline, the outfielder could barely contain his excitement, starting off what he called a "surreal" opportunity.
As much as Gallo has slugged his way to some memorable moments over his first month and change in pinstripes, his first impression with a new fan base—one he grew up a part of—hasn't gone according to plan.
After going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts on Monday night, Gallo's batting average with the Yankees plummeted to .130. Over his first 35 games since the trade, Gallo has just 16 hits in 123 at-bats. Out of his 151 plate appearances in that span, the outfielder has struck out 61 times.
Given the night off on Tuesday, Gallo took a few minutes to speak with reporters during pregame warmups, addressing his struggles head on.
"Obviously you want to play well, especially if you're on a new team," Gallo explained. "But at the same time, it's not the first time. It's baseball. You're gonna struggle sometimes."
Gallo can crush prodigious home runs and whack baseballs with the same elite exit velocities as his new teammates Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. He's also a player with a propensity to strikeout quite a bit, though. Even he'll admit that it's a huge part of his game, something that's not necessarily going to go away.
"It's not a surprise, I'm a high strikeout guy," he said. "It's not like I hit .300. I'm a walk guy and hit home runs. I want to be better, but that's kind of just the player I am. So, I've gone through streaks before. It's just about showing up every day, keep working and swing at strikes and eventually like that will click."
With the numbers he's been producing since he was acquired, Gallo is getting more and more familiar with the boo birds in the Bronx. He heard quite a few boos en route to Monday's golden sombrero.
While the outfielder joked that he thought fans were saying Luke—as he'll sometimes hit before first baseman Luke Voit in the lineup—he understood a critical fan base is part of playing at Yankee Stadium.
"It is what it is," Gallo said. "Playing in New York, you understand that's gonna be part of it and they want a winning product so it's just part of the business. We're professional baseball players, so you got to go out there and do your job and do it to the best."
So, how does he start to turn things around? Gallo spent Tuesday afternoon taking some swings off the high-velocity machine with his teammates. The 27-year-old added that he and the team's hitting coaches (Marcus Thames and P.J. Pilittere) watched film from Gallo's career in Texas as well, trying to pinpoint parts of his approach and rhythm that led to success in a Rangers uniform.
Other than that, it's staying locked in and keeping the right mindset. After all, the Yankees are in the midst of a brutal part of their schedule, battling through the final month of the year to secure a postseason spot.
"I think a day off is good every once in a while, especially the stretch that we've had," Gallo said. "I've worked hard to get back to where I know I can be and help the team win, so it's frustrating not winning games, but that's part of baseball. I just gotta keep working through it, show up every day and figure it out."
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