Reliever Keone Kela was starting to check all the boxes coming out of the Rangers bullpen. High velocity fastball to go with a swing-and-miss breaking ball. The point could be made that Kela was auditioning to fill that closer spot that has lacked consistency all season.
The audition has been shut down temporarily after the Rangers place the 24-year old righty on the disabled list with right shoulder soreness. It’s his second stint on the D.L. this season for the same reason. He is eligible to return to the active roster on August 15.
Kela was 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 34 appearances this season. Opposing batters are hitting .128 against him, which is the lowest among qualifying major league relievers.
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With the new unexpected opening in the bullpen, the Rangers call up 24-year old righty Ricky Rodriguez from Double-A Frisco. Rodriguez has a combined 5-1 record with 17 saves and a 1.34 ERA in over 35 relief appearances with both Frisco and High-A Down East. He’s averaged 11.7 strikeouts and 1.9 walks per nine innings this season.
It’s another hit against a bullpen that has dealt with issues all season long. The Rangers will continue to lean on Alex Claudio and Jose Leclerc in save situations. The 40-man roster currently sits now at 38.
Lefty Jake Diekman will have to wait to begin his rehab assignment. Rangers manager Jeff Banister wants to see Diekman throw at least one more live batting session before going further down the rehab road. He’s recovering from three abdominal surgeries to address ulcerative colitis.