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Joey Gallo activated by Dodgers, but doesn’t start

Miguel Vargas makes his major league debut, starting at DH

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Dodgers on Wednesday activated Joey Gallo, their lone position player acquired at the trade deadline, before the third game of their four-game set against the Giants in San Francisco. But he’s not in the starting lineup.

Miguel Vargas is starting, at designated hitter and batting seventh in his major league debut. Vargas, one of the Dodgers’ top prospects, was called up Tuesday, and arrived at the stadium around game time.

Gallo takes the open spot on the active roster created Tuesday when third baseman Justin Turner was placed on the injured list with an abdominal strain.

Dodgers-Giants lineups

Pos Dodgers Pos Giants
Pos Dodgers Pos Giants
RF Betts RF Slater
SS Turner 2B Flores
1B Freeman (L) 1B Belt (L)
3B Muncy (L) DH Mercedes
CF Thompson 3B Davis
2B Lux (L) LF González (L)
DH Vargas C Bart
LF Outman (L) SS Machado
C Barnes CF Johnson (S)
Julio Urías vs. Alex Cobb on the mound

Gallo won Gold Gloves the last two years playing right field for the Rangers and Yankees, and his experience in the outfield gave him the edge over Jake Lamb for a roster spot. Now it’s just about determining what Gallo’s role will be.

But the key is his bat, with the Dodgers looking to get something closer to the hitter whose 151 home runs ranked sixth in the majors from 2017-21 with a 117 OPS+ rather than the one hitting just .159/.282/.339 this season.

“A year ago he was worth a lot in the industry. He got traded for a lot. The true talent level remains,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said on a conference call Tuesday. “We feel like getting him here with our guys, there’s a real compelling upside story. For us, it was lengthening our position player base to cover for unforeseen things that could pop up in August, September, October.”

Despite his struggles at the plate, Gallo has actually been roughly league-average against right-handed pitching this season, hitting .178/.302/.397 with a 102 wRC+. He has two hits in seven at-bats in his career against Cobb, including a home run in 2018.

Gallo won’t start in the outfield on Wednesday, but fellow left-hander James Outman — he of the seven times reaching base in his first eight times to the plate — will start in left field, batting eighth.

Trayce Thompson is in center field against Giants right-hander Alex Cobb.