BOSTON -- In the aftermath of Joe Kelly's right shoulder impingement, which forced him from the mound Tuesday after just 23 pitches, manager John Farrell said he had no issue with Kelly failing to tell anyone about the tightness he felt while warming up in the bullpen.
"In the moment, no,'' said Farrell when asked if he was disappointed that Kelly didn't alert someone. "The reason I say that is he came out of his last outing (last Wednesday against Baltimore) after throwing 114 pitches. He had to work to get through that game. He [was able to throw on] his side day, and that's really the benchmark. If a starting pitcher is going to make his side day, they should be in line for that start.
"He was making all the markers along the way in the four days with our training staff. Now, the thing we got to know about Joe in the second half of last year is, his warmups are under control. He's not a guy who's going to look to go down and throw with 100 percent velocity on his fastball. In the conversation on the mound, he felt like he was going to be able to get through it while warming up. So I can't fault him for wanting to get to the mound.
"If he doesn't take the ball, then we're chastizing him for not being tough. So, here's a guy, okay, he might have been a little bit sore coming out of his last start. But he was making progress and felt like he was in the safe zone to make his start. Unfortunately, he didn't get through it.''
Farrell added that had Kelly said something after his warmup, the same group of relievers -- led by long men Heath Hembree and Robbie Ross Jr. -- would have been utilized as fill-ins.
Kelly underwent an MRI Wednesday afternoon, which confirmed the original diagnosis of an impingement but revealed that the shoulder structure was unchanged compared to the MRI taken last September, when Kelly saw his season end prematurely due to a shoulder strain.
The Sox are still unsure of Kelly's projected recovery time, and won't know for that a while.
"We've got to let it quiet down and get a better gauge on it once he gets back to the strength testing,'' said Farrell.
Based on the MRI, Farrell said there's no evidence that Kelly risked or incurred any more damage to the shoulder by making his start.
What makes this difficult to assess, as Farrell noted, is that "there's an individual threshold between soreness and pain. Typcially, guys at this level, have dealt with this from time to time in the minors and here and when they reach that threshold where it isn't just stiffness, it's their career we're talking about. And you want them to be candid and honest. A player's health is first and foremost to us.''