The Red Sox appeared to be in a bit of a bind for Saturday night’s game against the Yankees. With Joe Kelly starting the season on the 15-day disabled list and no other viable alternatives on the roster, it was looking like the Red Sox would be giving the start to unproven knuckleballer Steven Wright. However, things are looking up for Kelly and the Red Sox, with manager John Farrell announcing today that Kelly will likely be the starter on Saturday night.
Kelly initially injured himself in a spring training game when he felt tightness in his right bicep. But after throwing a simulated game, the Red Sox deemed Kelly ready to start on Saturday, forgoing a scheduled rehab start with the Single-A Greenville Drive.
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In today’s announcement, Farrell spoke on what went into his likely decision to start Kelly.
"It looks like he’ll be ready to go by Saturday. We outlined it was going to be Steven prior to the bullpen that Joe threw (Wednesday), which was encouraging. And again, with another couple of days, we feel like Joe will be ready to start for us."
This is obviously good news for the Red Sox, who already sport a relatively thin rotation entering the season. The 26-year old Kelly, who throws his sinker in the upper 90’s with excellent movement, is a potential breakout candidate for the Red Sox and brings plenty of upside to the table.
Farrell did not give a definite pitch count for Kelly, but he hinted that Kelly’s total could land around 80 pitches. That won’t be a full start for the powerful right-hander but it’s better for everyone (except maybe Wright, who will likely be optioned back to Pawtucket to make room for Kelly) for him to be throwing those 80 pitches in the Bronx rather than in Greenville. Kelly did miss much of the latter half of spring training but the Red Sox will be hoping that his raw stuff can carry him to a quality start against the Yankees.