Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports that the Rangers have hired Shayne Kelley as a major league staff assistant and that one of his duties will be to serve as Josh Hamilton’s new accountability partner.
Kelley has a pretty diverse background, serving as the Royals’ minor league strength and conditioning coach for two seasons and the team chaplain at Alabama from 1996-1999. As such, part of his duties will also include helping out the Rangers’ coaching staff and hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh.
Kelley will take over the role vacated by Jerry Narron, who took the hitting coach job with the Brewers this offseason. Hamilton’s father-in-law, Michael Dean Chadwick, originally volunteered to replace Narron, but had a change of heart last month after discussing the matter further with his family. Chadwick said at the time that he didn’t think an accountability partner was even necessary, but the matter is obviously of increased importance following Hamilton’s relapse with alcohol at a Dallas-Fort Worth area bar last Monday night.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said that Kelley has already begun his duties, as he traveled with Hamilton during his visit with MLB and MLBPA doctors yesterday in New York.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.
It’s been a tough season for the mythology of Jonny Gomes‘ veteran clubhouse savior reputation.
First he signed with the rebuilding Braves and performed poorly while Atlanta fell apart after a surprisingly decent start. Then he was traded to the Royals, for whom he played just 12 games and hit .167. And now Kansas City has left Gomes off the ALDS roster.
It makes sense, though. Gomes’ only real use to the Royals would be as a pinch-hitter versus left-handed pitching, but manager Ned Yost rarely pinch-hits and will no doubt be more willing to use 25th man Terrance Gore as a pinch-runner in the late innings.
Beyond that, not many surprises on the Royals’ roster for their series against the Astros. They went with 11 pitchers, which means both Chris Young and Kris Medlen are on the roster. Jeremy Guthrie is not.