The Los Angeles Dodgers lost relief pitcher Joe Kelly at the end of their 2021 season when he sustained a right biceps strain while appearing as an opener in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.
There were some reports that Kelly’s injury was more serious than originally believed and that he could be in jeopardy of missing the start of the 2022 regular season. However, that is no longer considered the case and he is expected to be ready by Opening Day.
Although the MLB lockout has prevented players from working with team trainers since the beginning of December, that hasn’t affected Kelly too much as he continues to recover.
Kelly has been participating in baseball activities for more than three months now and said his rehab has been going well, via “Dodger Talk” with David Vassegh on AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio:
“Rehab has been going good. Throwing the ball multiple times a week, playing catch. Haven’t gotten off the mound yet, but I’ve been throwing some pretty good long toss. And the other days I don’t throw, I’m here at practice throwing with the kids, so arm is definitely going to be ready for the season.”
Prior to the lockout beginning, the Dodgers declined their $12 million option for Kelly and instead paid a $4 million buyout, which made him a free agent for the first time since 2018
Kelly is coming off his third and most successful season with the Dodgers as he posted a 2.86 ERA, 3.08 FIP and 0.98 WHIP in 44 innings pitched over 48 games. Nevertheless, the Dodgers seemingly made a financially-driven decision.
The right-hander was not among the free agents to sign a contract before the MLB lockout began, but he figures to receive plenty of interest once business resumes, including from his former team, the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Cardinals selected Kelly in the third round of the 2009 MLB Draft and he pitched over parts of three seasons with the organization from 2012-14. Primarily used as a starter, Kelly went 17-14 with a 3.25, 3.99 FIP and 1.38 WHIP in 266 innings (68 games; 38 starts).
Kelly would like to re-sign with Dodgers
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman indicated the team would be in the mix to re-sign the 33-year-old when the work stoppage ends, and Kelly indicated he wants to re-sign, noting the interest is mutual.
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