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Report: Rangers demoted Keone Kela because of a clubhouse incident

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On Friday, Rangers’ right-hander Keone Kela was assigned to Triple-A Round Rock to start the season. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the demotion wasn’t because of roster overcrowding or poor performance during camp. Instead, it appeared to stem from an undisclosed incident during one of the Rangers’ “B” games on Wednesday.

Rosenthal’s sources said that Kela exhibited less-than-acceptable behavior during the game, which provoked “a series of heated discussions” among veteran players on the team. The team has not elaborated on the events that led to Kela’s demotion, nor have they released a timetable during which the reliever will return to the major league roster. They did, however, mention that the incident has no bearing on the right-hander’s trade value should interested teams make any offers this season.

Kela, 23, is hoping to make a full comeback after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow to remove bone spurs last year. He pitched to a 6.09 ERA in 2016, going 34 innings with 4.5 BB/9 and 11.9 SO/9. When healthy, he earned a more respectable 2.39 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 in his debut season with the Rangers in 2015. Wednesday’s debacle wasn’t the first heated run-in he’s had while on the team, though it appears to be the first one that has merited a significant penalty.

Club GM Jon Daniels spoke to the press following Kela’s assignment on Friday, explaining that the team was taking some time to address their clubhouse culture. “It doesn’t change how we feel about [Kela], short- , medium- and long-term,” Daniels said. “I have a lot of faith in him as a pitcher and a young man, and hopefully he’ll be back with us at some point going forward.”

Report: Brewers sign Yovani Gallardo to a major league deal

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Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.

Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.

Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.

Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.