Joe Kelly is just fine. Mostly. His early departure from Monday's game against the Mets was due to a bit of bicep tightness, and importantly is something he's experienced before that usually doesn't linger too long. He doesn't even expect to get an MRI. So the brief emergency is over. Joe Kelly is not down, and the Red Sox are not searching for a starter to pitch their fifth game of the season right this very minute. We can now resume our state of perpetual fear over the possibility of an injury rather than freaking out about one that might have occured. But...what if everything wasn't fine? What if Joe Kelly was right now being fit for a prosthetic, his arm having suddenly fallen off the second he stepped into the clubhouse? Who would the Red Sox turn to next? A look at the Triple-A rotation is at once encouraging and terrifying. The good news: the Red Sox are stacked in Pawtucket, even after having traded away Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, and Anthony Ranaudo. The bad news: none of the pitchers are really the guy you want taking a major league mound. At least not for another few months. On the one hand, there's Matt Barnes. Barnes is one of the pitchers most likely to contribute to the Red Sox this year in some way, shape, or form, but if the team is not ready to pull the trigger once-and-for-all just yet, his destiny may well be in the bullpen, where he's looked good in limited opportunities. On the other, there's Henry Owens and Eduardo Rodriguez. They're the two most talented members of the Pawtucket rotation, both top 100 prospects and very often ranked in the top 50 at that. But Owens has thrown all of 38 innings at Triple-A, and Rodriguez only saw time above Double-A in the playoffs. Come June or July, they'll likely be the go-to answers if there's an opening in the rotation. But for right now, they're still a little too unproven to be relied on at the majors.
Joe Kelly is (probably) fine, but what if he wasn't?
Over The Monster | Mar 16