FORT MYERS, Fla. — As Red Sox
manager John Farrell
pointed out after his team’s 4-3 win over the Mets Monday, any time a starter is forced to walk-off the mound in the middle of an outing there should be cause for concern.
But in the case of Joe Kelly — who had to exit in the third inning after experiencing tightness in his right biceps — the Red Sox and the pitcher weren’t seemingly overly anxious.
“They kind of saw me shaking my arm more than usual, asked me what was wrong and I just said my biceps is a little tight and a little achy and it progressively got a little worse,” Kelly said, having had particular trouble throwing breaking balls. “They might want me to rest a little bit. Just a little bit of restriction in my lower biceps. See how it feels tomorrow, and play regular catch, hopefully.”
“He was experiencing some biceps soreness. Not uncommon for pitchers to experience some kind of soreness as we’re stretching him out and building up their pitch count,” Farrell noted. “I know it’s something Joe has dealt with in the past. It was a day his velocity wasn’t normal, which again, I think some of our starters are going through a little bit of a dead arm period. I know it affected him most after he tried to throw his breaking ball. After he threw that last pitch where he tried to get a little extra velocity you could see him have a little different action on the mound.
“At that time it was clearly time to get him out of the game. We’ll have a chance to re-evaluate him when he comes back tomorrow to see what treatment he might needs going forward or any adjustment to his overall schedule. We’ll find that out tomorrow.”
Kelly said he had dealt with this issue before and felt the biceps discomfort while warming up.
While none of the parties involved could say for sure, the chances of Kelly making his next start, Sunday against the Phillies, would seem in doubt considering the Sox’s cautious approach. It is still also unclear if an MRI will be needed, although the pitcher wasn’t anticipating undergoing any imaging.
“Any time a pitcher walks off the mound you’ve got to go through some steps of getting on a mound in a bullpen session and test it before you go back out there,” Farrell said. “We’ll get more information before he comes in tomorrow.”
Kelly, who was relegated to primarily throwing all fastballs before exiting, allowed three runs on seven hits over 2 2/3 innings.
“I’m fairly confident and honest with you guys that I think it’s not very much of a big deal at all,” he said. “They might make me rest a little bit. Right now my arm feels fine. It just was a little bit of restriction in the lower part of my biceps.”
– While Kelly obviously put a damper on the Red Sox’ day, there were some bright spots, including the pitching performances of Alexi Ogando and Steven Wright.
Ogando struck out two during his one inning of work, showing great life on his fastball. In three outings thus far, the righty has resembled the pitcher before having been hit with a rash of injuries over the past two seasons.
“Domination, pretty much. He looked good,” said Red Sox catcher Ryan Hannigan. “Good fastball command and an exceptional slider. Locked guys up and did his thing. It was pretty obvious.”
Wright, who would seem to be first in line if any current member of the starting rotation was sidelined, continued to impress. This time the knuckleballer threw three scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and a walk.
“It feels good, especially compared to where I was at last year at this point,” Wright said. “I was just trying to get healthy. For me, to just come in and basically do what I know how to do, which is throw quality knuckleballs over the plate and then whatever the team needs me to do I’m more than happy to do it, but the only way is to stay healthy.”
– Perhaps the ultimate feel-good story of the day for the Red Sox, however, came courtesy catcher Matt Spring.
The 30-year-old career minor leaguer hit a sixth-inning blast off highly-regarded Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard for a solo homer. While it simply goes in the books as a spring training home run, the moment meant so much more for No. 81.
“The most important thing is my son was watching at home. He’s two,” said Spring, who has played 11 minor-league seasons. “That’s the most important thing. But just taking advantage of opportunities. Anytime you can have a day like that whether it’s in spring training or whatever, it’s a good day to put it in the back of memory bank for when you’re not feeling good about yourself and pump yourself a little bit.”
When asked about Bo Spring’s attention to such television programs, like the one showing his dad hit a homer, he said, “I ranked over Mickey Mouse, so that’s great.”