The concern Monday afternoon was for the health of young slugger Joey Gallo and fireballer Matt Bush, not who did what wrong while converging on one harmless pop-up 24 hours earlier.
But that pop-up and the resulting collision have done plenty of harm to the Texas Rangers as they play what rates as their most important series of the season.
Neither Gallo nor Bush was with the team Monday at Angel Stadium after their infield collision at Globe Life Park left both with injuries and symptoms of a concussion.
The Rangers placed Bush on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained MCL in his right knee, and Gallo was prevented from traveling for the opener of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels.
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Gallo has a non-displaced fracture in his nose and a swollen upper lip. He is a candidate for the seven-day concussion DL if he continues to be unable to pass the concussion protocol.
Until the medical all-clear is given, nothing else matters.
“Their heads collided, we had a non-displaced fracture of the nose, we have a situation where we do our due diligence for both players,” manager Jeff Banister said. “We need to make sure we take that approach.”
The closest player to the collision was shortstop Elvis Andrus, though he was up the middle as the Rangers played an infield shift against Chicago White Sox rookie Nicky Delmonico.
Delmonico hit a pop-up toward third base, and Gallo, shifted toward second base, charged to catch it. Bush, a former shortstop, raced after the ball and caught it as his head slammed into Gallo’s mouth and nose.
The play should be made by the infielder, Andrus said, and the pitcher needs to give ground. But Bush’s instincts took over as both players tried to make a play.
Andrus thought trouble could be looming as he didn’t hear either player call for the ball.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ ” Andrus said. “I don’t think you can get that reaction from any pitcher but Bush. I think he’s the only one who can actually get to that ball that quick. Usually on a ball like that you never expect a pitcher to get there that quick.”
Banister said that he hadn’t spoken with Gallo or Bush about the play. The priority was quickly getting them medical attention.
Banister wasn’t putting either at fault.
“Matt is aware where guys are playing on the field,” Banister said. “We were in a shift situation, and you had the convergence of two athletes. Both of them looking at the ball. Joe’s looking at the ball. Matt, when he initially started after the ball, he looked to his right. Joe is so far to his right he’s out of his periphery. They’re not going to see.”
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Ryan Rua was recalled from Triple A Round Rock to take Bush’s spot on the roster, and the Rangers purchased the contract of right-hander Nick Gardewine from Double A Frisco and optioned infielder Phil Gosselin to Round Rock.
The need for an outfielder was heightened because Carlos Gomez (cyst) is also on the DL. He went through some baseball activities Monday and expects to be in the lineup Saturday, the first day he is eligible for reinstatement.
The Rangers will likely put more of a load on right-handers Tony Barnette, Jason Grilli and Ricky Rodriguez while Bush is out. The belief is that his injury isn’t serious and that he will pitch again this season.
Gallo could play this week against the Angels, who were tied for the second wild-card spot and led the Rangers by 2 1/2 games, if he is free of concussion symptoms. The Rangers will then make sure his vision isn’t compromised and consider if he needs to wear some sort of mask to protect the nose.
Nomar Mazara and Drew Robinson had communicated with Gallo, who leads the Rangers with 35 home runs, and don’t expect him to miss much time.
“He sent me a picture on Snapchat,” Robinson said. “I was messing around with him. I was trying to tell him it looked terrible, but it doesn’t look that bad.”
But one harmless pop-up and the resulting collision have done plenty of harm to the Rangers as they play the Angels in a key series.
“We’ve still got a job to do,” Andrus said.
Rangers at Angels
9:05 p.m. Tuesday, FSSW