Red Sox news: Zack Kelly to miss time due to elbow surgery
Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Zack Kelly will, "be out for a while" according to manager Alex Cora, due to a re-injured elbow. According to a NESN report, Cora mentioned that this surgery would not be a Tommy John surgery, which bodes well for Kelly. Rather, the surgery will be to repair an internal brace previously placed in Kelly's throwing elbow to stabilize it.
This is a tough loss for the Red Sox, as the bullpen has been growing rather empty between this, an injury to Chris Martin, and to Joely Rodriguez previously. Kelly was performing at a decent level so far for Boston, with a 3.68 ERA through 7.1 innings pitched, and six strikeouts.
In terms of potential replacements in the short term, the Sox have Josh Winckowski and Kutter Crawford as current relievers with some strong promise. Also on the roster are Kaleb Ort, Ryan Brasier, Richard Bleier, and John Schreiber in the bullpen, who have had varying struggles this season at one point or another.
Red Sox have options while Zack Kelly recovers
The saving grace for Boston is that one of the more promising pitching options on the roster should be coming back soon, that being James Paxton. Paxton has been dealing with a tweaked hamstring since his game in spring training but made his first relief start in Triple-A Worcester. He allowed seven runs and recorded just two outs. Hopefully, he is able to get up to the major league roster soon and provide some much-needed depth at minimum.
Another name worth noting in terms of replacement would be Jake Faria, who was recently outrighted back to Worcester for the Red Sox. While not exceptional in recent years, he had a decent stint with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2021. He would end the year with a 4.58 ERA, 20 earned runs in 32.2 innings pitched, and 32 strikeouts.
All things considered, it could be a tough couple of days in relief, as practically everyone on the roster will have to get some time on the bump until Paxton returns. Fortunately, closer Kenley Jansen has been absolutely lights out for Boston so far this season, which should help keep things in check near the end of games.
The optimistic scenario for Zack Kelly seems to be quite a ways out, as he was recently placed on the 60-day injured list, which at a bare minimum holds him out until June 15th. Having him back in July or August would be great for the bullpen, assuming all goes well and the healing process is effective.
Kelly would speak later with NESN in an interview after the injury, stating the following about his emotions tied to this:
""Definitely emotional for two reasons...One, because I care. I care about this game, these guys, and I enjoy doing this. Two, just all the (expletive) I went through to get here. It’s just a lot. Whenever something like that happens, you get emotional about it.""- Zack Kelly
Hopefully, we see Kelly again later this year to bring some solid innings out of the bullpen. But for now, he will be out for the foreseeable future.