After learning of trade on Twitter, Joe Kelly embraces new opportunity with Red Sox

August 02, 2014 - 11:54 am

Newest Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly exemplified the life of a major leaguer in 2014 on Thursday. Kelly was in the training room with former Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski before the Cardinals' afternoon game that day when he struck up a conversation with his teammate about the latest trade deadline rumors. The most recent report involved their team. "Hey, it looks like the Cardinals are going to get [John Lackey]," Kelly told Pierzynski. "Oh yeah, really? How do you know?" Pierzynski asked. Kelly responded: "I've got a source on Twitter." Said Pierzynski: "Oh yeah, because everything on Twitter is true." Kelly checked Twitter again about 15 minutes later and found out not only had St. Louis traded for Lackey, but he and Allen Craig were the ones going to Boston in return.

"I went over to A.J. and said, 'I told you Twitter is true,' " Kelly said.

Players getting information through social media is no longer uncommon. Kelly's Twitter source was subsequently confirmed by MLB Network, then by a call from Kelly's agent, then in a meeting with St. Louis GM John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny. But for Kelly, who met with the media in the Red Sox' clubhouse Saturday, it didn't minimize his surprise in the least.

"They've been definitely hectic," Kelly said of the last couple days. "It's something that happens in baseball and it can happen to anyone.

"When I got the news I was definitely shocked and surprised, but I found out it was Boston and figured it was one great baseball town to another. I'm definitely looking forward to it."

A 26-year-old right-hander, Kelly is a sinkerball pitcher who also features a curveball, slider and changeup. He said he likes to get quick outs and put batters away with his offspeed pitches. Kelly was strong for the National League champion Cardinals last season, starting 15 games and going 10-5 for the year with a 2.69 ERA. This season hasn't been as smooth for Kelly. He missed three months with a hamstring injury after a strong start to the season, and has struggled since returning July 11. Kelly is 1-1 since with a 7.32 ERA in four starts since coming off the disabled list. But with a new team, Kelly has a chance at a fresh start.

"I guess I've just got to keep pitching like the way I have," he said. "Every time I go out there, I like to win as much as I can.

"I like to play the game 100 percent. People don't think pitchers are athletic and could ever do that, but that's kind of my style. Any way I can help my team win I try to do it."

The downside for Kelly, however, is going from a playoff contender with the Cardinals to a last-place Red Sox team.

"It was fun being on a team that was winning. It was fun competing," Kelly said. "But we didn't look at that more than the fans and the media always talking about what place and how many games out."

Sox manager John Farrell said Saturday that Kelly will make his Red Sox debut Wednesday in St. Louis against his former team. Kelly admitted it was going to be a strange pitching against the Cardinals, but said he will approach it like any other game.

"I'm definitely looking forward to it. It's going to be fun," Kelly said. "But it's just another ball game. You've got to go out there and be 100 percent locked in and just make pitches and try to get those guys out."

Kelly said there will be no hard feelings pitching against the team that traded him.

"My motivation is to beat the other team every time I pitch. I don't put any extra emphasis on another game," he said. "You don't want any of those outside factors to bug you. I learned that last year pitching in the World Series against the Red Sox. There's just so much outside factors: media, fans. I just took it as another game to go out there and have fun and I think that's the best way to look at it."