By Scott Barancik, Editor

Kelly flashes his new Israeli passport

Kelly flashes his new Israeli passport

Baseball journeyman Ty Kelly announced his retirement last weekend with characteristic humor, accusing retiring Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck of stealing his thunder. “Let me have my moment, Andrew,” he wrote.

It turns out Kelly’s not quitting baseball entirely.

The 31-year-old second baseman recently obtained Israeli citizenship and will be joining Israel’s national baseball team for next month’s European championships in Germany. The top 5 finishers in that 12-team tournament will move on to the Olympic qualifiers taking place in Italy beginning September 18.

A native of northern California, Kelly was picked by Baltimore in the 13th round of the 2009 draft and spent the bulk of his pro career in the minors. The switch-hitter made his Major League debut in 2016 and played a total of 118 games for the New York Mets and Phillies.

Kelly has represented Israel before. In its improbable run in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Kelly hit .321 while playing second base. Kelly only needed Jewish heritage to qualify for Israel’s roster in that tournament. By contrast, the European Championships requires citizenship.

Although Kelly manned the infield in 80% of his pro starts, he will be playing right field in Germany. Second base, Kelly’s most common spot, will be occupied by Mitch Glasser, an independent-league player who became a dual Israeli-American citizen earlier this year.

Multiple American ballplayers have obtained dual Israeli-American citizenship this year in anticipation of Israel’s Olympic bid. Members of Kelly’s cohort include former minor-league catcher Nick Rickles and former Yale University closer Benny Wanger.

Other players with Major League experience who will be representing Israel at the European championships next month include Jon Moscot and Zack Weiss.

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