High School Sports

Latest trade makes Kelly optimistic

At least Ryan Kelly never had to actually pack up his things and relocate. He can be thankful for that.

But an interesting offseason became a little more, well, interesting for the former Hilton Head High baseball standout who is attempting to work his way through the minor leagues.

The Texas Rangers acquired Kelly in a trade with the Oakland Athletics on Saturday -- the second time in two weeks Kelly was involved in a trade. The A's had just acquired Kelly from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a Dec. 23 trade for infielder Corey Wimberly.

Saturday's move comes as a chain reaction to the Rangers signing star third baseman Adrian Beltre. Kelly was traded for right-handed pitcher Guillermo Moscoso, who was designated for assignment Friday to make room for Beltre on Texas' 40-man roster.

"I was just getting used to the idea of being an A," Kelly said. "(Fourteen) days later, I get a call that I'm traded again. I wasn't sure what to think.

"But after talking with a couple people with the Rangers, this sounds like a pretty good gig."

One man in the Texas organization makes it especially appealing -- team president and part-owner Nolan Ryan.

Kelly said he spoke with Rangers minor league pitching coordinator Danny Clark over the weekend and ended the conversation with an optimistic outlook on his future with the team.

"One of the things I really like is a lot of their stuff comes directly from Nolan Ryan, which is a pretty cool thing," Kelly said. "It's pretty cool knowing he's at the top of the totem pole and the philosophy is coming from him."

Regardless of how productive that philosophy turns out to be, it will provide an adjustment for Kelly, who spent the past two seasons with the West Virginia Power, the Pirates' Class A affiliate.

The Power used Kelly almost exclusively out of the bullpen last season, but did experiment by giving him a spot start. Kelly said he expects the Rangers to keep him in the bullpen -- and he prefers a closer's or setup role -- but will be comfortable with whatever assignment he receives.

Josh Boyd, the Rangers' director of pro scouting, indicated Kelly will pitch in relief.

"We have a lot of history with this kid going back to junior college," Boyd told the team website. "We like his arm. He touches 95, 96 (mph) in relief and shows flashes of a power breaking ball. We ... feel there is some upside there."

Kelly has not yet been told where he will open the 2011 season and likely won't learn that assignment until the conclusion of spring training. Players are required to report to spring training in Surprise, Ariz., on March 6.

The Rangers' minor league affiliates include Myrtle Beach (Class A Advanced) and Hickory, N.C. (Class A).

"Wherever I go, it's a fresh start for me with new people, new philosophies, new everything," Kelly said. "I've learned a lot from some people in the Pittsburgh organization that is going to help me through everything. ... I'm getting to the point where I have to put up good numbers so I can move up, and I know that."


  • Team: West Virginia Power (Class A)

    Games (Starts): 38 (1)

    Record: 2-3

    IP: 75

    K/BB: 75/14

    ERA: 4.20