It’s been a rough season for Shawn Kelley, who left Friday night’s series opener in Citi Field with an issue that sounded similar to the one the reliever dealt with late in the Washington Nationals’ Game 5 loss in the NLDS last October. Kelley was 19 pitches in when he felt something in his right forearm and called the trainer out to the mound.
In 33 outings this season, after tonight, the 33-year-old right-hander has a 7.27 ERA, an 8.62 FIP, 11 walks (3.81 BB/9), 25 Ks (8.65 K/9) and 12 HRs allowed (4.15 HR/9) in 26 IP, after he gave up nine home runs total (1.40 HR/9) in 58 IP in 2016, over which he put up a 2.64 ERA, a 2.97 FIP, 11 walks (1.71 BB/9) and 80 Ks (12.41 K/9).
In the second year of his 3-year/$15M deal with the Nationals, Kelley has already had DL stints for a lower back issue and right trapezius strain.
According to reports from Citi Field on Friday, Kelley was down after the latest issue forced him from the mound:
Kelley said he felt something shoot down his forearm after the last pitch. His hand was visibly swollen. Hadn't seen doctor, was very down.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) September 23, 2017
“Just on that last pitch I felt something go down through my arm and my hand swelled up a bit,” Kelley explained, as quoted by Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes.
“I just didn’t feel like I could pitch another pitch honestly. I couldn’t really grip the ball. I motioned for somebody to come out because I knew it wasn’t good.”
“I’ve kind of always dealt with it. I’ve just managed it. I’ve had tingling, I’ve had irritation. I’ve just managed it,” Kelley said. “This time, it just didn’t seem as manageable out there.”
Kelley’s description of the issue was similar to what he said after he left the final game of the Nationals’ 2016 campaign.
"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 then.
"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 had some nerve problems. He couldn’t feel his fingers,” Dusty Baker said Friday night.
“It was similar to what he had last year, and he said he threw that pitch and he couldn’t feel his fingers, so that’s the first indication, I’m not a doctor, but first indication that there’e something going on with the nerve there, so we hate to see that because he was on the DL earlier, he was trying to get his act back together, so we’ll just have to see tomorrow.”
Did Kelley, who’s already undergone Tommy John surgery twice, think it was an issue with his elbow ligament?
“He didn’t say anything about his elbow,” Baker said.
“He could just feel it in the forearm, which a lot of times is connected, but we just can’t jump to conclusions until he sees a doctor.”