We learned yesterday that Padres’ right-hander Casey Kelly was sent for tests on his ailing right elbow. Unfortunately the results pointed toward the worst-case scenario.
According to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Kelly said Tuesday’s exam showed “micro tears” in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He’ll go for a second opinion before deciding whether to undergo Tommy John surgery, but he conceded that it’s the most likely outcome.
“I’ve prepared myself for the worst,” said Kelly at an impromptu press conference in a hallway of the Padres spring training complex.
“I don’t have too many options. The doctors are concerned with what they saw.”
Interestingly, Kelly noted that this week’s MRI wasn’t much different from what was found last year. However, since rehab hasn’t done the job, he has prepared himself for the possibility of going under the knife. If Tommy John surgery is required, he will miss the entire season.
Kelly made six starts for the Padres last season and was recently ranked as the game’s 45th best prospect by Baseball America. While surgery would be a tough blow, he doesn’t turn 24 until October.
After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.
According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.
Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.
Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.