ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have a $2.5 million option on veteran reliever Shawn Kelley. He is hoping they will pick it up.
If not, Kelley said he will retire.
“If they pick me up, I would love to come back and do another year,” Kelley said. “If not, I will drift off to the sunset. I’ll either play here next year or retire.”
Kelley is finishing his 11th season and has pitched in 486 games. He has worked through a variety of injuries, including two Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgeries. He went on the injured list twice this season, once for a bacterial infection in his throat that required surgery to have benign lumps removed.
He has played just one season in Arlington, but the Rangers under manager Chris Woodward are the only team he is interested in playing for next year.
“I like these guys,” Kelley said. “I like Woody. I don’t want to go to a new team, meet all new people, learn all new philosophies, that stuff. I’d love to be back here next year, help these guys and hopefully, we can make a run at it depending on how the offseason goes. If not, I’ve got four kids that need me.”
Kelley was the Rangers' best reliever in the first half of the season and took over as closer after Jose Leclerc struggled early. But Kelley was on the injured list from July 22 to Aug. 7 with soreness in his right biceps. He allowed five runs over two innings in his first three appearances after being activated, but he has a 3.86 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in his last eight outings.
“Just a couple of games that weren’t really good and I probably wasn’t quite ready to come back,” Kelley said. “I probably should have thrown a few more rehab games just to make sure I was right instead of hurrying to get back. Last few have been a lot better. I feel good. I’d like to throw a couple more before the year ends and have a couple of more good outings and leave on a good note.”
Rangers split instructional league
The Rangers will operate two separate instructional league programs, with one operating in Texas and the other in Arizona.
The “Futures Camp” will run from Sept. 22 to Oct. 6 at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco. That 40-man roster will play six games locally against college programs either at Frisco or Globe Life Park in Arlington. The first game is at 3 p.m. on Sept. 24 against Grayson College in Frisco.
That team will include four of the Rangers' top five prospects as ranked by MLB Pipeline: third baseman Josh Jung (No. 1), catcher Sam Huff (No. 2), pitcher Cole Winn (No. 4) and outfielder Leody Taveras (No. 5).
The more traditional instructional league session opened Monday in Surprise, Ariz., and will run through Oct. 2.
Pence in doubt
The Rangers have less than three weeks left in the season, and the chances of outfielder Hunter Pence playing again may not be good. He has been sidelined since Aug. 24 with a strained lower back.
“It’s going slow,” manager Chris Woodward said. “He is going to do some light rotational stuff today. It’s going pretty slow. I know he wants to get back in there and he is going to do everything he can. But to risk hurting himself for the offseason makes no sense. We’ll see. Once he is able to rotate, we’ll address whether he can get back in time or not. Right now, it’s pretty slow.”
• Outfielder Joey Gallo took live batting practice off reliever Taylor Guerrieri on Tuesday afternoon as he continues his recovery from right wrist surgery. Gallo will continue to take live batting practice this week with the hope of playing in the final two weeks of the season.
• Logan Forsythe was supposed to start at first base on Tuesday, but he was scratched at the last minute due to a tight left intercostal muscle.
• Outfielder Nomar Mazara remains day to day with a strained left oblique muscle.
• Woodward said the Rangers will use an opener ahead of right-hander Ariel Jurado for Wednesday’s game against the Rays.