ARLINGTON, Texas – Texas Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo says he doesn’t know if he actually had the coronavirus despite two positive tests, since he has never had any symptoms and also had multiple negative tests.
“I wish I had an answer,” he said Saturday, a day after he was able to join the team. “I don’t know. I really don’t know.”
Gallo said he planned to have a more extensive antibody test to be sure after a finger-prick test didn’t indicate that he had COVID-19 at any point.
The 26-year-old All-Star slugger missed the first week of the Rangers summer camp and isolated from teammates for two weeks after two positive tests that sandwiched a negative result during intake testing. He had two negative tests on his own outside of the MLB testing program, but wasn’t cleared to join the team until consecutive negative tests under the protocol.
“It was a strange process to go through. There wasn’t much anybody could have done because the test came up positive,” Gallo said. “It was weird, it was hard to get real answers on if I really had it or not. ... As of right now I am coming up negative and that’s how I am hoping to stay the rest of the season."
Gallo's positive results were by the saliva test, though he was negative on a swab test. He said he is “now on edge” when going through the testing and gets nervous every time he has to do a saliva test.
After 40-homer seasons in 2017 and 2018, Gallo had 22 home runs in 70 games last season when he was an All-Star for the first time before season-ending wrist surgery. He homered in the All-Star Game on the first pitch in his only at-bat.
While Gallo feels a “little behind” baseball-wise, he said he felt good overall. The right fielder joined a group of teammates working out at the Rangers' new stadium for several weeks before the positive tests that forced him to stay home. He said it was tough mentally being away from his teammates.
While isolating in his high-rise apartment, Gallo again set up a big screen in front of the window overlooking downtown Dallas and hit off a tee like he had when he returned home after MLB halted spring training in mid-March.
“I had to set it back up. And I’ve got a little mini Wiffle ball machine that we use that shoots Wiffle balls at us, and I was hitting off that just to help make a hand-eye coordination,” Gallo said.
“And I was training on my balcony. I have a bunch of different bands, so I’d wrap it around my railing on my balcony, and I was doing as much as I possibly could to make sure when I got back, I was good to go," he said.
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