The Red Sox have placed reliever Zack Kelly on the 15-day injured list with right elbow inflammation, the club announced prior to Thursday’s series finale against the Rays. In a corresponding move, fellow right-hander Kutter Crawford was recalled from Triple-A Worcester.
Kelly was visibly upset after injuring his right elbow in the fifth inning of Wednesday night’s 9-7 loss to Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field. The 28-year-old will undergo an MRI in Boston on Friday to determine the severity of the injury, but the fear is that it is serious.
Crawford, meanwhile, rejoins the Red Sox just two days after being optioned to make room on the roster for Garrett Whitlock. The 27-year-old made two starts to begin the season was sent down so that he could remain stretched out as a starter in Worcester, but he is back as a reliever for the time being.
As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Crawford last pitched against the Tigers on Sunday and is on three days rest, meaning he could be available out of the bullpen if the Red Sox need on Thursday. Crawford was a logical choice to take Kelly’s place since he is the only healthy pitcher on Boston’s 40-man roster with big-league experience.
It remains to be seen how the Red Sox plan on using Crawford moving forward. He could, in theory, remain in the bullpen in be utilized in a similar fashion to Josh Winckowski, who has thrived in multi-inning stints to this point in the season. The more likely option, though, is that Crawford will be sent back down to Worcester in the coming days so that he can start and so that Boston can add a more traditional reliever to its bullpen mix.
Doing that, of course, would require the Red Sox to clear a 40-man roster spot, but they could accomplish that by transferring Kelly to the 60-day injured list if his injury is severe enough. Potential options to come up from the WooSox include righties Jake Faria and Andrew Politi and lefties Ryan Sherriff and Oddanier Mosqueda.
(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)