Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Joe Kelly will be ready for the start of MLB’s 2022 season

Joe Kelly’s 2021 season ended when he walked down the hill at Dodger Stadium with a burning pain in his right arm.

It was the fifth game in the National League championship series against the Atlanta Braves. Kelly, the Dodgers rookie, threw 24 assists in the first inning. His speed did not drop. His things didn’t look compromised. But the pain in the shoulder became unbearable, and the numbness in the forearm was impossible to ignore. So he went out.

Kelly immediately went to the Dodger training room, where he was examined by Dr. Neil El-Atrahe, the team’s chief physician. ElAttrache quickly determined that the pain was coming from a musculocutaneous nerve in Kelly’s hand. He informed Kelly that his season was over. The next step was to find out if Kelly could avoid the worst-case scenario: a six-month recovery period.

This response came over the next two weeks. According to ElAttrache, the worst cases involve shoulder atrophy within seven to ten days. If the atrophy had surfaced, Kelly would probably have been shut down for six months. But atrophy did not occur. As a result, ElAttrache advised Kelly, who has no structural damage to his arm, to resume throwing after six weeks. It is expected to be ready for the 2022 season.

The Times reported last week that Kelly was not expected to be ready for the start of the season. Elattrach said it was an initial concern based on five previous incidents he faced with major league pitchers, but Kelly’s case was different because he didn’t make the injury worse. Kelly’s decision to retire, coupled with early diagnosis, helped to avoid a long-term problem.

“If I made him a medical call to the Dodgers, if it was on the cards, I would not hesitate to inform the front office that he will be back on the first day of spring training,” ElAttrahe said Friday.

Making this call can be beneficial for ElAttrache. The Dodgers are expected to ditch Kelly’s $ 12 million option by Sunday’s deadline, but that doesn’t mean the feeder won’t return to the team in 2022.

Kelly, 33, will receive a $ 4 million ransom if the club option is rejected. Once he hits the open market, he will have several suitors. The Dodgers are expected to be one of them.

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The Dodgers had 11 players this week, not counting Kelly, who have officially become free agents. On Friday, they beat left-handers Scott Alexander, right-handers Jimmy Sherfy and infielder Andy Burns from a list of 40.

Kelly recovered from shoulder surgery last offseason and averaged 2.86 mileage in 48 games for the Dodgers during the regular season. He was charged with three runs in 5 1/3 innings in seven playoff games.

The Dodgers signed a $ 25 million three-year contract with Kelly with team picks for a fourth season after seeing him dominate them in the 2018 World Series with the Boston Red Sox. The right-hander gave up two runs (one earned) in nine postseason games to help Boston win the championship. It was the homecoming of Corona and UC Riverside.

However, his Dodgers career began unsteadily. He was tormented by fits of savagery. He entered the 2019 All-Star break with an average earnings of 5.28 over 30 2/3 innings in 30 games. Kelly’s season ended with Howie Kendrick losing the daring Grand Slam in Game 5 of the National League Division Series, but by then he had become a solid option and stayed that way until 2021 when he was healthy.

Kelly has a 2.69 ERA since the 2019 All-Star hiatus, tied for 22nd overall among all Majors with at least 70 innings. His 3.20 FIP tied for 32nd place. Its 3.16 xFIP is ranked 12th. He has become one of the best pitchers in the sport.

(FIP stands for Fielding Independent Pitching. It is a metric similar to ERA, but it is designed to remove the margin from the equation to measure a pitcher’s performance. It takes into account strikeouts, unintentional walks, field hits and home runs; xFIP is short for Expected Fielding. Independent pitching. It uses the predicted home run speed instead of the allowed home run.)

Off the pitch, Kelly has become a fan favorite in his three seasons. Last season, he instigated a bench incident in Houston against the Astros and gave Carlos Correa a pouty face that is preserved in the murals, T-shirts and memes. This season, he traded a jersey for a mariachi suit with the artist at Dodger Stadium. He later donned the suit during the Dodgers’ visit to the White House, hence the nickname Mariachi Joe.

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