LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers on Wednesday activated right-hander Joe Kelly after the pitcher missed a month with inflammation in his right elbow/forearm.
Kelly was wildly popular with the fans in Rancho Cucamonga, and the Quakes even asked several of their players to make their best Joe Kelly pouty face.
Kelly this season has the best strikeout rate of his career (33.8 percent) and is throwing harder than ever, averaging 99 mph on both his two-seam fastball and four-seamer. It hasn’t reflected in his 4.41 ERA like it has in his 3.13 xERA or 3.03 FIP.
“If you took away those numbers, I think all my numbers on the peripherals have been the best of my career, like best velocity,” Kelly said on July 29, when he was first activated after the trade. “It’s one of those things you can’t control — well, you can control ERA a little bit, but sometimes it’s out of your hand.”
Kelly has has trouble staying on the field, throwing just 32⅔ innings in 35 appearances in his age-35 season. He missed two weeks in April with a right groin strain and another two weeks in July with right elbow inflammation. Both of those were with the White Sox, and now he missed a month with elbow/forearm inflammation with the Dodgers.
Since he was acquired by the Dodgers, Kelly has appeared in four games and hasn’t yet given up a run with seven strikeouts and three walks in 3⅔ innings. He last pitched for the Dodgers on August 9.
Kelly will add to the depleted right-handed depth in the Dodgers bullpen. Outside of trusted pitchers Evan Phillips, Brusdar Graterol, Ryan Brasier, and Shelby Miller, the Dodgers bullpen had no other right-handers for short relief.
Kyle Hurt was optioned after making his major league debut on Tuesday night. The 25-year-old right-hander from USC impressed with two perfect innings and three strikeouts to close out the blowout win over the Padres.
Hurt was called up for one day to — along with Lance Lynn’s seven innings — give the bullpen a rest day.
“It was a surprise to him, and the organization as far as him getting the call [Tuesday] night, but he delivered,” manager Dave Roberts said Wednesday. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with Kyle. He could come back. My encouragement to him was he filled the zone, he had swing and miss. ‘You had a great experience. Continue to do that, and you never know what could happen.’”
One roster level the Dodgers didn’t pull this week was using the paternity list for Ryan Yarbrough, who has remained active since his start on Sunday in Washington DC. Nothing has changed in the plans; Yarbrough will still join the Dodgers on Friday in Seattle.
The original plan was for Yarbrough to go on the paternity list Monday, which would have facilitated the call-up of Monday starter Gavin Stone inside of 15 days since he was last optioned. But instead, the Dodgers on Monday placed Wander Suero on the injured list with lower back tightness.
When asked why the Dodgers didn’t use the paternity list for Yarbrough, Roberts said, “It wasn’t for lack of trying.”
Yarbrough’s daughter was born Friday in Florida, and he stayed behind to be with her after the Dodgers’ series in Miami. Yarbrough flew back to Washington DC Saturday night and started Sunday against the Nationals.
But per MLB rules, “No player may be placed on the [paternity list] unless that player is the father of a child whose delivery or adoption is imminent or has occurred within the prior 48 hours.”
So the Dodgers missed the window to place Yarbrough on the paternity list.