Within a span of just a few moments, several worst-case scenarios played out for Nationals reliever Shawn Kelley on the mound in Game 5 of the NL Division Series on Thursday night.
First, he allowed a two-RBI triple to Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, a hit that put the Nationals down three runs at the time. Then, he felt a numbness in his fingers.
"I didn't know if I could throw anything where I wanted to or know where the ball was going. I told them that, and they decided to get me out of there," Kelley said.
Kelley was removed after throwing just three pitches. After speaking with doctors, he believes it is a nerve issue he has dealt with in the past. A two-time veteran of Tommy John surgery, at this point he has no reason to assume the worst.
"It's a little nerve-racking having a tingling and no feeling," he said. "I was pretty confident there wasn't any damage to my ligament or anything. It's tough to go on when you only have feeling in two fingers. And scary at the same time."
Kelley said he had already gained back some of the feeling in his fingers hours after his outing. And with the long offseason ahead of him - the Nationals were eliminated from the playoffs on Thursday - he has time to rest.
Kelley, 32, posted a 2.64 ERA across 67 appearances this season, his first year with the Nationals. He signed a three-year, $15 million deal to join Washington this past offseason.