The Athletics placed third baseman Matt Chapman on the 10-day disabled list with right hand soreness, per an announcement on Friday. An MRI revealed no structural damage in the infielder’s hand, but the team will take things slow with what appears to be a lengthy recovery process. No concrete timetable for his return has been announced yet.
Chapman, 25, is in his second full season with the A’s. While he’s known more for his stellar glovework than his pop at the plate, he batted a healthy .250/.346/.447 with 10 home runs and a .793 OPS through his first 280 plate appearances of 2018. According to comments made by the infielder on Thursday, he had been playing through the pain in his right hand since spring training, though the issue appears to date back to last September.
It’s unclear what sort of short-term and long-term solutions the Athletics are currently considering for their star third baseman, but in the interim, Chad Pinder and Jed Lowrie are expected to split time at the hot corner. In a corresponding move, the A’s also recalled top prospect Franklin Barreto from Triple-A Nashville. The 22-year-old Barreto got off to an underwhelming start in Triple-A this season, slashing .236/.335/.441 with seven homers in 186 PA; in his first major-league stint of the year, he went 0-for-5 with a walk and three strikeouts.
We wrote a lot about Casey Kelly on this site circa 2010-12.
It was understandable. Kelly was a big-time draftee for the Red Sox and famously split time as a shortstop and a pitcher in the minors, with some people even wondering if he could do it full time. The Sox put the kibosh on that pretty quickly, as he became the top overall prospect in the Boston organization as a pitcher. He then made news when he was sent to San Diego — along with Anthony Rizzo — in the famous Adrian Gonzalez trade in December 2010.
He made his big league debut for the Padres in late August of 2012, holding a pretty darn good Atlanta Braves team scoreless for six innings, striking out four. He would pitch in five more games in the season’s final month to not very good results but missed all of 2013 and most of 2014 thanks to Tommy John surgery.
He wouldn’t make it back to the bigs until 2015 — pitching only three games after being converted to a reliever — before the Padres cut him loose, trading him to the Braves for Christian Bethancourt who, like a younger Kelly, the Padres thought could be a two-way player, catching and relieving. That didn’t work for him either, but I digress.
Kelly made a career-high ten appearances for a bad Braves team in 2016, was let go following the season and was out of the majors again in 2017 after the Cubs released him a couple of months after he failed to make the team out of spring training. He resurfaced with the Giants this past season for seven appearances. The Giants cut him loose last month.
Now Kelly’s journey takes him across the ocean. He announced on Instagram last night that he’s signed with the LG Twins in the Korean Baseball Organization. He seems pretty happy and eager about it in his little video there. I don’t blame him, as he’ll make $1 million for them, as opposed to staying here and almost certainly winding up in a Triple-A rotation making $60K or whatever it is veteran minor leaguers make.
This was probably way too many words to devote to a journeyman heading to play in Korea, but we so often forget top prospects once they fail to meet expectations. We also tend to forget all of the Tommy John casualties, focusing instead on the Tommy John successes. As such, I wanted to think a bit about Casey Kelly. I hope things work out well for him in the KBO and a baseball player who once seemed so promising can, after a delay, find success of his own.