Joe Kelly shook his right arm after striking out Colorado Rockies slugger Kris Bryant in the eighth inning Wednesday at Coors Field.
The Chicago White Sox reliever received a visit from the coaching staff and left with discomfort in his right biceps.
The Red Sox decided to keep Kelly on the active roster as they began a three-game series Friday against the Oakland Athletics at Guaranteed Rate Field, and manager Tony La Russa said the setback to the right-hander was “something I had felt before”.
“That part is good news,” La Russa said Friday. “I hope that’s what it is.”
While Kelly didn’t make the disabled list, the Sox have some bullpen juggling to do after placing Reynaldo Lopez on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a lower back strain. López’s measure is retroactive to Monday. He hasn’t pitched since July 23.
Even before the injuries, Sox general manager Rick Hahn said the bullpen it’s a possible area the team would look to address before Tuesday’s trade deadline.
Asked Friday if he expected bullpen help from outside the organization, La Russa said, “I’m looking forward to what they (front office members) have done before I got here. They always look at the template and try to improve it.
“We’re excited to have our rotation set up, knock on wood to keep those guys healthy. Our bullpen, even losing (Lopez), we’re deep enough to compete because guys have shown they can step up.”
Lopez, who is 4-2 with a 2.98 ERA, 44 strikeouts and zero home runs allowed in 37 appearances (one start) this season, has become a reliable late-game option for the Red Sox.
Kelly has a lot of experience in those circumstances as a setup man. He has a 6.20 ERA in 23 starts in his first season with the Sox, but hasn’t allowed a run in his last eight appearances (7⅔ innings) and has held opponents hitless in four of his last seven games.
The Red Sox announced the move on Friday in response to news of Lopez’s trip to the IL, calling up right-hander Davis Martin from Triple-A Charlotte. The rookie has made six appearances (three starts) over five seasons with the Sox this season. He is 1-3 with a 4.67 ERA and 20 strikeouts.
La Russa said Martin would fit in with Lopez out.
“Davis is ready to pitch and we’ll see who else is available,” La Russa said. “That’s a good name to mention because I wouldn’t be afraid to send him there in the seventh or eighth.”
La Russa expressed his confidence in the group as a whole as he tries to mix and match, while keeping his arms fresh, before reaching out to Kendall Graveman and All-Star closer Liam Hendriks.
“The philosophy that I was raised with, lose a game, don’t lose a pitcher,” La Russa said. “We’ve had games, especially here at home, that have gotten away from us because we weren’t going to use guys that shouldn’t be pitching that day. One of our strengths was taken advantage of a little bit with Lopez, but we had very good depth in the bullpen. Especially with the rise of (Jimmy) Lambert (1.02 ERA and .164 ERA in 15 relief starts) and (Jose) Ruiz is doing things (and Matt) Foster.
“Losing López, that happens. That happens to everyone. But the fact is that every day we check with the guys and if they’re not available, we don’t release them.”
Center fielder Luis Robert went 1-for-5 Thursday when he began a rehab assignment with Charlotte. Robert was the designated hitter and batted second for the Knights. He singled in the seventh inning of a 3-1 loss at Nashville, Tennessee.
Robert was not in the lineup Friday as he dealt with cold symptoms. He is expected to play center field for the Knights on Saturday, according to the Sox.
Robert last played for the Red Sox on July 15 against the Twins in Minnesota. leaving after the first inning with dizziness. He missed the last two games before the All-Star break and went to the IL with blurred vision on July 19.
“In addition to the (cold) symptoms, we have to see how his game looks, see how he moves,” La Russa said. “The quickest (he could come back) would be (Monday against) Kansas City. That is written in pencil. They have a lot to do this weekend.”