Chris Kelly returns from injury, but not to rotation.(46.08)

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Chris Kelly returns from injury, but not to rotation.(46.08)

Post by niles08 » Thu Mar 25, 2021 1:08 pm

Omaha officially has activated starting pitcher Chris Kelly from the injured list today. Kelly, who was recovering from the elbow ligament reconstruction surgery last pitched on August 25th of last season. He was spectacular for Rockville last year over 9 starts with the club, pitching a 2.40 ERA over 56 innings in those 9 starts.

Omaha signed Kelly to a potential 2-year deal this past off-season with Kelly making $2,400,000 this year and a team option that would pay him $4,400,000 next season. The option is essentially a mutual option as Kelly could also opt out and elect for free agency again, this time presumably healthy.

Kelly wasn’t expected back until late August or early September, but recovered well enough to now return at the end of June. It will be interesting to see how the club handles his workload, however they have already given an indication announcing that Kelly would not be joining the rotation.

That news is somewhat unsurprising given the current rotation in Omaha, where the highest ERA is actually Timo Dooley with a 4.13 this season. It was thought at one point Kelly would replace the Terrence Kelly once healthy, but Terrence Kelly has a 3.29 ERA through 90 innings this season so it would be a tough choice to pull him from the rotation with the success he has had.

Instead, Chris Kelly will pitch exclusively out of the bullpen, as the club announced he will take over in the stopper role, pitching from the 7th inning on and more often than not hopefully closing the game out.

Fernando Moran has been the clubs current closer and despite a 4.67 ERA, he has done a fabulous job. He filled in last season with a 2.27 ERA in the same role finishing with 10 saves after Raul Gonzalez went down with injury. Moran this season has an inflated ERA thanks to a month of April where his ERA was 11.25. Since that time he posted a 2.35 in May, and a 1.59 in June. His 4 earned runs those months compared to 20 innings pitched would give him a combined 1.80 ERA for May/June.

“Fernando is still going to close out games for us”. Said Manager William Cole. “We plan to utilize Kelly and Fernando as a 1-2 bunch on different days. Essentially both will become closer type pitchers, just on different days.” Said Cole.

Omaha’s overall pitching ERA is currently 5th in the FL, however the bullpen ERA sits 15th. Kelly pitching out of the pen should hopefully help to bring that ranking a bit higher.

In a corresponding move, the team announced that reliever Roberto Amaya had been optioned to AAA Lincoln.
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