FORT WORTH -- The Rangers have hired Shayne Kelley, a longtime college baseball assistant coach and former strength coach in the Royals' Minor League system, to be a Major League staff assistant and the key person in Josh Hamilton's support system.
Kelley was hired after an extensive search that drew interest nationwide. He was recommended by Hamilton's agent, Michael Moye, and Rangers vice-president Chuck Morgan, whose son knew Kelley from their days together at the University of Alabama.
"We talked to a few people, but Shayne was at the top of our list," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We had more interest in this position from people reaching out all over the country than all other positions combined since I have been here."
The Rangers were in the process of making a decision when Hamilton had a second relapse in his recovery from drugs and alcohol last week. Hamilton admitted to drinking in a Dallas bar last Monday but has not tested positive for drugs.
Kelley accompanied Hamilton to New York on Monday to be examined by doctors from Major League Baseball and the Players Association. Major League Baseball has not made a decision if Hamilton will be disciplined for what could be viewed as a violation of the terms for reinstatement from previous suspensions. He was not suspended after his first relapse in January of 2009. He missed 3 1/2 years in 2003-06 because of an ongoing addiction to drugs and alcohol.
"I haven't talked to anybody yet from Major League Baseball," Daniels said. "We'll defer to them."
Kelley replaces Johnny Narron, who filled the role of Hamilton's accountability partner since the Rangers acquired him from the Reds four years ago. Narron was hired earlier in the offseason by the Brewers to be their assistant hitting coach.
Like Narron, Kelley has an extensive baseball background and will be able to help the Major League staff in other areas.
Kelley was assistant baseball coach and team chaplain for the University of Alabama from 1996-99 and a Minor League strength and conditioning coach for the Royals from 1999-2001. He was also an assistant baseball coach at two other universities in Alabama: Samford and Jacksonville State. He spent last season as a high school baseball coach.
The term "accountability partner" has been used to describe this position but Daniels said that's misleading.
"I don't know where that came from ... Josh is accountable for himself," Daniels said. "Our aim is to support him and put him in a position to succeed. If you hire an interpreter for somebody, the guy is still responsible for what he says. Josh is still accountable for himself.
"Shayne has been a hitting coach, a strength coach, you do a lot of different things at the collegiate level. He'll be able to help the staff in a lot of different ways in addition to being there for Josh."