HOUSTON -- The action on Rangers closer Keone Kela remains persistent as Tuesday's Trade Deadline approaches, with the Dodgers and the Braves appearing to be the most aggressive.
The Rangers are showing interest in Braves left-hander Luiz Gohara, and they have been actively trying to land young starting pitching in return for Kela. Gohara, 21, is currently with Triple-A Gwinnett, but he is 1-4 with a 5.33 ERA in six starts and eight relief appearances with the Braves over the past two years.
Kela has the potential to bring back the biggest return of any player the Rangers are discussing with other clubs. Most contenders are looking for bullpen help, and Kela earned his 24th save in the Rangers' 4-3 victory over the Astros on Sunday. He has a 3.44 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP, plus opponents are hitting .206 off him and he is averaging 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings.
That sums up why the Rangers are fielding many calls about Kela.
"I won't sit here and lie and say I don't think about it," Kela said. "I definitely thought about it a little more in the last week, seeing my name, getting agent calls, having family asking, 'What are we going to do if you get traded?' Definitely on my mind. I'm just happy this whole situation will be over in the next few days and play the game I love to play."
Major League sources say that just about every contending team is looking to reinforce its bullpen before the Deadline. The Dodgers are expected to be very active in their pursuit of bullpen help, and the Braves have been watching the Rangers closely. The Red Sox, Indians, D-backs, Pirates and Cubs have also been scouting Texas. The Astros have uncertainty about their closer situation, too.
The Rangers are also willing to talk about left-handers Jake Diekman and Alex Claudio, who tossed a scoreless inning on Sunday, but Kela has the potential to be a difference-maker for a contender, even if he is used as a setup reliever for a team set at closer. He's also not eligible for free agency until after 2020, so he would be more than a rental.
"I have been in this organization for six years, and this is the first time I've heard my name on the trade block," Kela said. "It's definitely unique, but it's part of the beast and nature of the game. It's something I'm grateful to have the opportunity to go through, because at the end of the day, I know I am in a great organization. If I go somewhere else, I have the opportunity to win. I'm just happy I have the opportunity, and hopefully I get the chance to stay here."
DeShields making impact since returning to lineup
Delino DeShields spent only three days at Triple-A Round Rock, but he said the time there was worth it. He was able to identify some flaws in his hitting mechanics that he might not have found otherwise.
"Just simple things I'm going to keep working on," DeShields said. "Really focused on keeping my body loose and not letting more [of my] lower half open up. Simple things you can't see or tell in a game. But when you slow things down, you notice it. I feel better now that I know what's going on."
DeShields was optioned to Round Rock on Tuesday, and he expected a longer stay. But he was recalled on Saturday when Ryan Rua went on the disabled list with back spasms.
"It has been kind of an emotional rollercoaster," DeShields said. "I'm grateful to be here. I know I belong here. I know I can play at this level, but I would be lying if I said it wasn't an emotional rollercoaster."
Carlos Tocci got a chance to play center while DeShields was with Round Rock. DeShields started in center field on Sunday, going 1-for-3 with a ground-rule RBI double.
Beltre on Guerrero
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre never played with Vladimir Guerrero in his career. But he was roommates with his brother, Wilton Guerrero, when they came up together with the Dodgers.
They are all from the Dominican Republic, and that's why Sunday was a special day. Guerrero was being inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining Juan Marichal and Pedro Martinez as the only players from the Dominican Republic to be enshrined there.
"Obviously, it means a lot," Beltre said. "We don't have many Dominicans in there. He's No. 3 and the first position player. It's well deserved and took too long. He was a great player, a dynamic player, one of the best players in the game. Our country is really proud of him."
Guerrero played for the Rangers in 2010. He is the seventh Hall of Famer to have played with the Rangers, joining catcher Ivan Rodriguez and pitchers Nolan Ryan, Ferguson Jenkins, Gaylord Perry, Bert Blyleven and Rich Gossage. The Rangers will honor Guerrero before Saturday's game with the Orioles.
• Beltre had the day off on Sunday, but Banister said he expects to use both him and Shin-Soo Choo during the upcoming two-game series against the D-backs. Both will be in the field, with no designated hitter being used in the National League park.
• Reliever Chris Martin, on the disabled list with a strained left groin muscle, began a rehab assignment with Round Rock on Sunday.
• Rougned Odor was 5-for-5 with two home runs on Saturday. One was an inside-the-park home run. The last Major League player to accomplish that unique combination was Washington Senators catcher Patsy Gharrity on June 23, 1919.