In one of the stranger recent headlines, Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly revealed to Boston media outlet that he underwent an operation to remove cysts from his pitching shoulder in the offseason. After a lengthy rehab and ramp-up process, the right-hander made his season debut for LA on Friday night.
Before the game, he talked about the difference he felt post-surgery.
“Even a day, two days after surgery obviously you’re banged up. But I got instant relief.”
While his first game of the season didn’t turn out well at all, he did add before the game that he felt “500%” better than he did at the end of last season.
“I look back to the end of last year and where I was. I was grinding, trying to throw. My mechanics were different almost every time just because it was hard to repeat. … It’s a good sign that I’ve been throwing from alt site games to bullpens to live BPs and my velos have all been 95 to 97. … I’m excited to get back out there and see where my stuff is. But for me, not getting the reps of a full season, I think my stuff is better than it was at the end of last year — which is good.”
Kelly joins an LA pitching staff beset by the injury bug. At the moment, Scott Alexander, Brusdar Graterol, Tony Gonsolin, David Price, and Corey Knebel are on the injured list along with Caleb Ferguson and Dustin May, who both are out for the season and free agent signing Tommy Kahnle who is likely out for the season.
That’s 8 (!) pitchers on the IL.
Dave Roberts said he expects Joe Kelly to get immediate high-leverage innings in his return, something that is more telling of the state of the relief core over his trust in the reliever.