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Dodgers News: Joe Kelly Reveals Long-Hidden Issue and Offseason Shoulder Operation

Sounds like Kelly had something very serious going on.



There’s been a shroud of mystery surrounding Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly for the last year or so. Fans noticed it right away when he showed up during the 2020 season and oddly threw 63 percent curveballs. He basically stayed away from his heater as often as possible. 

Kelly was also not ready to go in Spring Training and still has not made his 2021 debut. But now we’re finding out more about what hampered the Dodgers pitcher and what he’s gone through the last year. 

Kelly talked with Rob Bradford of Boston’s WEEI this week about the injuries he’s faced since last season. As it turns out, there was something pretty serious with him that the Dodgers needed him to have surgery on. 

We found some cysts. My shoulder hasn’t been good since the end of 2019. But during my suspension after the thing with the Astros my arm was super weak. If I was laying on a table I couldn’t lift my arm past gravity. They asked me how long it was going on for and I told them forever. I couldn’t sleep at night and it felt like fire ants were eating my arm from the inside-out.

An MRI during his 8-game suspension revealed a very large cyst that was limiting his muscle usage to just 50 percent in his arm. Kelly said that he pitched in the World Series for the Dodgers not knowing where the ball was going to end up, but he was also touching 95 mph. 

Dodgers News: Joe Kelly Not Expected Until Anaheim Series

The good news is that the doctors were able to perform surgery and decompress the cysts. Kelly anticipated starting throwing a month later than everyone else, and that’s about where it lined up for him. The Dodgers currently have him throwing live at-bats in Arizona where he could return as soon as late next week.

A pretty scary thing for a guy that Dodgers fans haven’t heard much about over the last few months. The team gave no indication that Kelly was having surgery or that he was going through something as serious as this. He is in the final guaranteed year of his contract. 

The Dodgers carry a team option worth $12 million for the 2022 season. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. I’m sorry to hear about your setback to your health. Now we know why you weren’t throwing your beloved wicked fastball that we longed to see when you were w/ the Cards and Red Sox. I missed your swag and hustpah which the current BP don’t have. They need to be more assertive out there. Take care and hope to see your fastball tailing w/ fire! Love that POUT!

  2. Why all the mystery? And to be honest he had mystery “lower body” pain since the first year of his contract. He couldn’t lift his arm after the “Astros thing”? Does that mean after that game it started hurting and he could lift it? Yet he came back after his suspension and was throwing 95 mph? And what does it mean he’s had this pain “forever”? His story doesn’t all fall into place for me and once you hide one thing how do we know what else you’re hiding? Weird dude!

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