It had been a great year so far for Casey Kelly prior to Monday. In his first two career Triple A starts Kelly had gone 12 innings while allowing just three runs and striking out 14 batters. In addition, the sinker specialist has managed to hold a 1.63 ground-ball-to-fly-ball rate in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League through his first two starts. A small sample to be sure, but extremely encouraging results for a guy who underwent delivery changes just two months prior.
On Monday, Kelly was scratched from his scheduled start due to what the team called “elbow discomfort.” In the time since then GM Josh Byrnes has revealed that Kelly complained of elbow soreness after his last start, which caused the team to take an extremely cautious approach.
That cautious approach led to an MRI performed by Padres doctors back in San Diego that revealed elbow inflammation that would place Kelly on the disabled list for the next few weeks.
Will Carroll – who writes about injuries at SI.com – was kind enough to share a few thoughts on Kelly’s situation.
He said that elbow inflammation is not uncommon, especially in young pitchers. Nothing that has been revealed yet by the team is too serious, more annoying than anything else.
More than anything, San Diego needs to find out what caused the inflammation. As mentioned above, the Padres’ coaching staff worked with Kelly to alter his delivery during Spring Training to make him quicker and more athletic to the plate, but now they must decide if that’s what caused the injury.
“Think about runners, sometimes they’ll get sore” Carroll said through email. “They’ll change shoes or something and their knees will get sore or [they'll] have shin splints. It’s not serious, but annoying.
“Same thing for a pitcher. Questions are: What changed? What was swelling up? Is this a precursor to bone chips or a minor sprain?”
Unfortunately, without more information publicly available we can’t answer all these questions. For now, the Padres’ staff will continue to closely monitor Kelly’s progress and keep him on a timetable that won’t jeopardize his future.
Without much to play for in 2012 expect Kelly’s absence to be longer than normal if anything while the team figures out exactly what’s happening.