|Rangers' Choo looks to extend streak against Twins|
MINNEAPOLIS -- Shin-Soo Choo will try to reach base for a 36th consecutive game Saturday when the Texas Rangers continue their three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
The 35-year-old Rangers outfielder extended his streak to 35 games Friday night with a two-run homer against Fernando Romero.
His streak is the second longest in baseball this season, trailing only Philadelphia's Odubel Herrera, who reached in 40 straight games. It's the longest by a Rangers player since Mark Teixeira made it on base in 36 straight games in 2006.
Julio Franco holds the franchise record for a season with 46 straight games and Will Clark reached in 58 straight games at the end of the 1995 and start of 1996 seasons.
"I signed here to get on base, that's why they brought me here," Choo said. "When I've been healthy, I've gotten on base."
Choo has been on a tear the last month, slashing .306/.468/.556 in his last 30 games, leading to his name being mentioned more frequently in trade rumors as the Rangers remain stuck in the American League West cellar despite winning a season-high six straight games after opening their series in Minnesota with an 8-1 victory Friday night.
While he is open to joining a contender for a stretch run, he knows the $50 million-plus owed to him through the 2020 season could make that difficult.
"Probably (my) contract is still (an obstacle)," Choo admitted earlier this week. "It's probably not easy. I'm not 28 or 30 anymore."
The Rangers turn to Yovani Gallardo (0-0, 15.95 ERA) to keep their streak going Saturday. It will be the second start of the season for Gallardo, who was cut by Milwaukee at the end of spring training, then allowed eight runs in 2 1/3 innings of relief before he was cut by Cincinnati and eventually signed a minor league deal with the Rangers.
Gallardo posted a 3.81 ERA in 10 starts for Triple-A Round Rock and was called up to face Colorado last Sunday. He allowed five runs and six hits while striking out four in a no-decision.
"I thought Yo threw the ball well," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It was similar to what we've seen in the past from Yo. He gave up a couple of soft hits, the walks are something not typical of Yo, but he managed the game and was able to give us some length."
Gallardo is 4-2 with a 3.49 ERA in 11 career starts against Minnesota.
Jake Odorizzi (3-4, 3.48 ERA) starts Saturday for the Twins, who are looking to get back on track after losing two straight and scoring just three runs in those games combined.
Odorizzi is looking for a bounce-back outing himself after the Indians tagged him for four runs in five innings his last time out on Sunday.
He is 4-0 with 2.02 ERA in six career starts against the Rangers.
The Twins should get a bit of a boost Saturday as third baseman Eduardo Escobar is expected to return to the lineup. He sat out the series opener Friday after taking a pitch to an elbow a day earlier against the Boston Red Sox.
"I think probably a tad better than I expected," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He's sore and there's some limitation because there's still a lot of swelling there that impedes his ability probably to throw accurately, as well as take his normal swing. But I'm fairly optimistic that in another, roughly, a little less than 24 hours, that he might be able to start a game tomorrow."