Joe Kelly

Red Sox notes: What to make of Joe Kelly; Hanley Ramirez still not swinging; Taking stock of AL East

Rob Bradford
June 26, 2015 - 3:34 pm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A day after Joe Kelly was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket, and two days before the righty makes his first start for the PawSox, John Farrell offered a bit more analysis in regards to the 27-year-old. Farrell talked about what Kelly has become over 62 major league starts, and how he might be able to garner better results than the 5.67 ERA he posted over his 14 appearances this season. "It'€™s a sizable sample of work so you begin to get more of a clear picture of what the individual might be," the Red Sox manager said prior to his team's game against the Rays Friday night. "Still, we saw a guy that when he come to us last year was on a pretty good run where it was starts of a minimum of six, sometimes seven innings of work. And then you begin to say, 'OK, what'€™s more valuable to your team, one- or two-inning reliever versus a guy who can rely on 175-plus innings if he'€™s not a closer?' That'€™s not to say that Joe Kelly couldn't close at some point because of the power he has. "So you always look to develop a starter before you say OK, he'€™s solely a bullpen arm. That'€™s the view we have of Joe. And to do that through the order three times, you'€™re required to have the consistent location that he has shown and we'€™re just trying to get the consistency back as high as possible. That'€™s the approach we'€™ve taken right now. "Again, because he throws in the upper 90s people are going to say well he can rely on his fastball. But that'€™s not always the case. I think the full complement of pitches, what we've seen at the time Joe has been here, that'€™s when he'€™s been most effective." -- Hanley Ramirez, who sat out Thursday after taking a line drive off his left hand Wednesday night, still hasn't started swinging a bat. "Improved today," Farrell said. "Still not at the point of putting a bat in his hand to begin swinging. Still day to day. ... That's the normal progression. It starts with dry swings to tee work to soft toss, the normal buildup, and then to see how he comes through a full BP session." -- Christian Vazquez is making strides in his return from Tommy John surgery, starting to hit balls off a tee. The catcher continues to join the Red Sox on their road trips. -- Farrell was asked about if the American League East might have been underrated coming into 2015. Only three of the 10 AL teams outside the division have a winning record against the East. "So many people talked about divisions being stronger than this one. That's opinion," Farrell noted. "When you see young players and pitchers emerge on given teams and teams get on a roll, I don't think anyone looks -- we certainly don't look at this division as being light or less competitive. I don't know that there's a perfect team in the division, but, at the same time, you know you're going up against a good opponent each and every night. We've got to continue to focus in-house on what we need to do to remain as consistent as possible."