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Rangers 'pen remains in flux ahead of Deadline

Diekman, Kela drawing interest on trade market
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' bullpen remains in a state of flux and will continue to be so until the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline passes.

The Rangers called up left-hander Brandon Mann on Tuesday to give them an eight-man bullpen, but the bigger question is if they'll trade either left-hander Jake Diekman or right-handed closer Keone Kela before the Deadline.

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' bullpen remains in a state of flux and will continue to be so until the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline passes.

The Rangers called up left-hander Brandon Mann on Tuesday to give them an eight-man bullpen, but the bigger question is if they'll trade either left-hander Jake Diekman or right-handed closer Keone Kela before the Deadline.

View Full Game Coverage

Those remain the Rangers two most attractive relievers available with a week to go before the Deadline. Right-hander Jose Leclerc would also be of interest to other clubs, but the Rangers are not inclined to trade a reliever who has held opponents to a .138 batting average and still has four years left of team control after this season.

Video: TEX@DET: Leclerc K's Mahtook to strike out the side

The Rangers have multiple opposing scouts watching them this week, and relievers are expected to be in high demand. Most clubs in need of significant relief help are focused on Orioles left-hander Zach Britton, who is clearly the most sought-after reliever currently on the market.

The Phillies, Braves, Cubs and Rockies are teams that need bullpen help, and there is a possibility the Astros could address their ninth-inning needs before the Deadline. The Giants are another contender with late-inning needs, while the Red Sox and Yankees are in need of left-handed relief help. The Pirates, now that they have surged back into contention, could be interested in Kela as a setup reliever.

Kela is 23-for-23 in save opportunities and has a 1.57 ERA in his last 24 games. He also can't be a free agent until after the 2020 season. That makes it unlikely that he will be available, but the Rangers have a desperate need for young starting pitching. That would seem to be the logical price a club would have to pay for Kela.

Video: TEX@BAL: Kela gets Schoop to fly out, earns 23rd save

Kiner-Falefa wins Heart and Hustle
Rangers infielder/catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa has been selected by the Major League Players Alumni Association as the club's 2018 Heart and Hustle Award Winner. The award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game and embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game.

"It means a lot," Kiner-Falefa said. "Growing up in Hawaii and everything I learned from my high school coaches, and just baseball that I learned growing up in the islands, bringing it here with the Rangers and showing it. Playing the game the right way, it's an honor to win the award."

The award began in 2005 and is voted on by former players. Previous Rangers winners were Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, David Murphy, Prince Fielder, Ian Desmond, Mike Napoli and Elvis Andrus.

Rangers beat:
• Reliever Chris Martin, on the disabled list with a strained left groin, is scheduled to pitch live batting practice on Thursday. If that goes well, he could begin a medical rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Round Rock this weekend.

" Ryan Rua pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Rangers on Monday night. Earlier in the game, he threw out Marcus Semien from left field trying to stretch a single into a double. He is the third outfielder since 1961 to both have an assist in a game and end up pitching. The others were Rick Leach of the Blue Jays in 1984 and Joe Inglett of the Brewers in 2010.

• The Rangers lost 16-3 on Saturday and 15-3 on Monday. It's only the third time in club history they have allowed 15-plus runs twice in the span of three games.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers