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Kela Performing in Crucial Role After Break



    Kela Performing in Crucial Role After Break
    Stephen Dunn
    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 18: Pitcher Keone Kela #50 of the Texas Rangers walks off the field after giving up the winning run on a balk in the ninth inning to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 18, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 1-0. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

    Keone Kela was simply overworked leading up to the MLB Trade Deadline, and the 22-year-old rookie reliever was letting it show in his performance.

    After giving up a run on July 30 against the Yankees, two games after allowing two runs to the Angels, Kela was demoted to Double-A Frisco, but only by definition. In fact, he wasn't being punished. The Rangers had a plan for him all along — rest, rest and more rest.

    Since he returned on Aug. 11, he's been on an absolute tear and has become a pivotal late-inning power arm in the Rangers' bullpen, often assuming a seventh- or sometimes eighth-inning role with the Rangers. In those 10 games, Kela hasn't allowed a run and has given up only four hits with 12 strikeouts and one walk in 9 1/3 innings since his return.

    His season ERA is now sitting at a cool 2.72 in 53 innings and he appears fresh for the stretch run to go along with newly acquired Sam Dyson and Jake Diekman as power arms late in the game to set up for closer Shawn Tolleson.