Texas Rangers

Rangers’ Kelley trying to keep medical scare out of his mind as he awaits biopsy results

Shawn Kelley hopes to know next week the results of the biopsy of two lumps that were removed from his throat Thursday.
Shawn Kelley hopes to know next week the results of the biopsy of two lumps that were removed from his throat Thursday. Special to the Star-Telegram

The “infection” that put Shawn Kelley on the 10-day injured list could be something far more severe.

The right-hander revealed Saturday morning that he underwent surgery Thursday to have at least two lumps removed from his vocal cords.

Doctors are performing a biopsy on the masses to determine if they are malignant, and Kelley expects to have the results next week. Doctors have expressed optimism, and he said that he does not use smokeless tobacco.

“I went on the IL originally to get them biopsied, and I guess the biopsy wasn’t conclusive enough,” Kelley said. “So they removed them. I still don’t know the results of what’s in my throat, but it’s out and I’m going to get back to pitching.”

Kelley said that the lumps started bothering him around Opening Day and that they increased in size. He continued to pitch, and emerged as the Rangers’ most dependable reliever.

Kelley was planning to throw a bullpen session Saturday, his third since hitting the IL, and was hoping that the incision below his chin wouldn’t cause any problems. If so, he said he could come off the IL as soon as Sunday.

“Honestly, I’m not thinking about it too much,” Kelley said. “We’ll find out when we find out, but for now I just want to get back to playing. Physically I feel good.”

Manager Chris Woodward, though, said that Monday is the soonest Kelley could be activated. Not only does Woodward want to make sure Kelley is fine physically, but also mentally.

“We’ll do everything we can to support him through,” Woodward said. “I don’t want to rush anything back. If he’s not back until Tuesday or Wednesday, so what? I’ll talk to him today and see where he’s at.

“There are lot bigger things than baseball in life, for sure.”

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After 12 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.