On Monday night, the Boston Red Sox were starting a three game series with their A.L East rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays. Joe Kelly was the scheduled pitcher in Boston’s opener against the Rays. After recording two early outs in the first inning, Kelly looked to have discomfort in his right shoulder after throwing a pitch. Seeing that the Red Sox already have pitching problems with Eduardo Rodriguez being on the shelf at the start of the 2016 season, the last thing that Boston needs is another costly injury to an plagued staff as it is.
Kelly had a long conversation with skipper John Farrell on the mound and was battling with Farrell to at least finish the inning, but team doctors were not taking any risks or chances on this one. Dating back to last season, Kelly missed the last three weeks of the 2015 regular campaign with shoulder discomfort and it looks like it has followed him to the 2016 season as well. Everyone had feared the worst of his injury, after being pulled only 23 pitches into his third start of the young season.
“Just a little bit of a pinching type feeling”, Kelly said. “Any time I tried to reach back on the fastball, I felt it”.
The final pitch Kelly threw was a 94 mile per hour fastball, and it was the hardest he had thrown in the inning to Tampa’s Corey Dickerson.”That was all I got right there”, Kelly said. “It was as I could throw the ball at that time. It didn’t feel that great obviously, hovering around that 89-90 (MPH) range was what I had, and I tried to push through it and got the last pitch up to 94 luckily for the strikeout, obviously it didn’t feel very good”.
What’s next for Boston’s pitching staff? Who will step up to fill Kelly’s spot in the rotation?
Manager John Farrell alluded that Kelly will be put on the 15 day disabled list, and has not named a starter to fill the void that the rotation is now faced with. “The velocity was down from the get go”, Farrell said. “There was maybe more changeups thrown in that first inning than we typically would see.” “When he’s been most effective, we know that there’s been a constant mix of pitches.” “He’s gradually worked into his velocity [at times]”. ” I thought that’s what was taking place”.
Heath Hembree got a call up from Pawtucket and went 3/1/3 scoreless innings in the emergency situation that he was being brought into on Monday night. The Red Sox eventually went on to loose the ball game to the Rays 3-0 in 10 innings.
Ken Matias is a contributing writer for gmbsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Sportsguru94, “Like” him on Facebok and add him to your Google network.