Joe Kelly

John Farrell 'leaning towards' starting Joe Kelly against Yankees on Saturday

John Tomase
April 09, 2015 - 2:21 pm

PHILADELPHIA --€“ The Red Sox are ready to alter their rotation for this weekend's series in New York, with Joe Kelly looking like Saturday's starter. Manager John Farrell wouldn't commit definitively to Kelly, but he's clearly leaning that way after the right-hander came out of a side session on Wednesday feeling strong. The original plan had been for knuckleballer Steven Wright to start on Saturday, with Kelly getting a final tuneup start at Single-A Greenville. "After his bullpen yesterday, it looks like he'€™ll be ready to go by Saturday," Farrell said. "That obviously is a change, so there will be a roster move prior to that start time on Saturday. We'€™re leaning towards Joe Kelly starting on Saturday." Kelly opened the year on the disabled list with a sore biceps and is eligible to return on Saturday. After a 6-2 victory over the Phillies on Thursday, Kelly said he's ready to go. "My body and arm and everything is physically there," Kelly said. "It's just a matter of that one rehab start [in Greenville], trying to build pitches up, and being around 75 pitches my last time out, five up and downs, I should be able to get, I hope, to 90, and give the team a chance to win. After those 75 pitches and all those up and downs, my arm bounced back like it normally does. Then I went through my side session and everything checked out good. They felt comfortable letting me go and I felt comfortable." While Wright opened the season on the roster, Farrell said the club never officially ruled out Kelly for Saturday. "Well, I think everyone involved, he and Joe, knew it was a possibility," Farrell said. "We'€™d outlined that it was going to be Steven, prior to the bullpen that Joe threw yesterday, which was encouraging. Again, with another couple of games, we feel like Joe would be ready to start for us." The Red Sox had wanted Kelly to get up to 95 pitches before throwing in a big league game, but Farrell changed his mind after the righty tossed 78 in his rehab start on Monday. He'll probably be in the 80-pitch range on Saturday, and was determined to return. "I was pretty adamant about it, but like I said, maybe if I was a little bit older in this game, they would believe me, because I like to pitch through pretty much everything," Kelly said. "They're trying to look out for the best of my health, and missing one start wouldn't be the end of the world, but we feel comfortable with where we're at and how I've progressed, health-wise and stuff-wise. We're going to go out there and not even think about any biceps stuff or anything. It just feels normal." Kelly, 26, went 4-2 with a 4.11 ERA in 10 starts with the Red Sox after arriving from the Cardinals in a deal for John Lackey. He throws 95 mph and might have the best pure stuff on the staff, though he has yet to fully harness his arsenal -- he walked a career-high 3.9 per nine innings last year.