Kelley reflects on last season, enjoying ST 'vibe'

February 13th, 2019

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers reliever said he is not an emotional guy, even though there is a perception that throwing his glove on a mound last year brought an end to his time with the Nationals.

"There was some stuff that went on behind the scenes," Kelley said. "It wasn't all about what happened on the field. There was a lot going on in the clubhouse. There were a lot of things that went wrong."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The incident took place in the ninth inning of a July 31 game between the Nationals and the Mets. Washington led 25-1 in the ninth inning when Kelly allowed three runs. He slammed his glove to the ground after giving up a two-run home run to .

That didn't sit well with general manager Mike Rizzo, and Kelly was designated for assignment the next day.

"I have never been a big thrower of equipment," Kelley said. "I had a couple of outings when I was younger, where I would come in and throw my glove on the bench or something. Now, I have thrown some clubs on the golf course. That glove-throwing would be PG compared to golf. I have broken golf clubs."

Kelley can joke about it now because of the way his season ended. Kelley was traded to Oakland and had a 2.16 ERA over his final 19 games, and the Athletics ended up winning 97 games.

Kelly, 34, said the experience revitalized him and pushed aside thoughts of retirement. He had a couple of winter conversations with Rangers manager Chris Woodward and decided Texas would be the right fit for him. The Rangers signed him Jan. 29 to be one of their setup relievers.

"It's exciting; it is another year in baseball," Kelly said. "As long as I don't slam my glove and get DFA'd in the first month or two, I will get to 10 years [of service time]. Personally, that's cool. I like the feel here, the vibe. This isn't a Triple-A rebuild. This team could surprise a lot of people."

Kelley at least has a job. is still unsigned, and Kelley said he has no idea where his former Nationals teammate will end up.

"I talked to him the other day, and he said it's actually slower than you guys think it is," Kelley said.

Rangers beat

• General manager Jon Daniels did not rule out additional player acquisitions before the end of Spring Training.

"There's nothing big that we're working on right now," Daniels said. "But there are some areas in camp that we could increase some depth, increase some competition, probably more on the position players."

• The Rangers hired 55 new people to their baseball operations department this winter, and that's why Daniels wanted an organizational meeting involving everybody. The Rangers had 180 people attend the meeting on Monday at a local resort. Daniels said it was the first such organization-wide meeting since 2007.

"I think probably the biggest was to introduce some of the new people that are on board, and some of the things, the initiatives that we're focused on, and just communication throughout the organization," Daniels said. "It was a little bit of like looking to pull back the curtain and try to be as transparent as we can on what we're doing, why we're doing it."

• The Rangers have two pitchers limited in camp. Right-hander , signed as a free agent this offseason, is 11 months removed from Tommy John surgery and is throwing on flat ground. He is not due back until midseason. So is , who is recovering from surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow and also on a flat-ground throwing program.

• Outfielder is also limited. He had surgery in December to repair a partial tear of the labrum in his left shoulder and is not expected to play in games until the end of Spring Training at the earliest.

• The Rangers will also be careful with catcher , who had season-ending surgery on his left shoulder in July. He will be competing for a job in Spring Training, but the Rangers want to closely monitor him.