The Arizona Diamondbacks season is coming to an end on September 27. With no chance of making a postseason that will see 16 earn a spot, the Diamondbacks will start looking to see what can improve for next season.
Starting pitcher Merrill Kelly is recovering from season-ending thoracic outlet surgery after a blood clot was found near his shoulder. Kelly announced he had the surgery on September 9, and he is expected to make a full recovery, with no lingering health problems.
“I actually feel a lot better than I thought I was going to,” Kelly says. “It kind of just feels a little tight up in here where they had to connect the muscle back, but as far as pain and swelling, it is way better than I anticipated.”
Kelly was in the midst of a season where he pitched just five times, winning two of those games and only losing one. He also posted 18 strikeouts, and had an ERA of 2.89.
Kelly last pitched on August 19, a game in which he threw five innings against the Oakland Athletics. It would prove to be the last innings he threw until at least the start of next season.
“It was going south, and pretty fast after the Oakland,” Kelly says. “That morning was tough, but I got through it and once I started warming up, it kind of went away, but then pretty much every day after that, it kind of regressed.”
Surgery is something no one wants to ever go through. Kelly wanted to ensure that his would be the last time he would be getting surgery.
“Baseball at this point is kind of secondary,” Kelly says. “Now that we are through it, basically my focus is to get back and get health, get back on the mound. But when it first happened, all I really cared about was to make sure that it never happened again, and I wanted to do everything I can to make sure that happened.”
It has certainly been a tough season. 60 games in a shortened amount of time, on top of a global pandemic, will certainly make for some stress on the body. Kelly says this season is not ideal.
“We’re used to doing things a certain way, and people have their certain routines that they’ve done for a long time,” Kelly says. “If anything, the beginning of the year was tough, just transitioning to all the protocols, testing, and the things that we couldn’t and could do. Once we got rolling, and you got accustomed to spitting in a tube every other day, and wearing a mask, I think for most people, it became normal.”
All surgeries are different, and each one has its own timetable. But Kelly does expect to be ready for Spring Training in March, and he is already in the rehabilitation process.
“I’ve been told that I should be good to go for Spring Training, and I think, throwing wise, I’ve been told late November to early December,” Kelly says. “So that is a positive in my mind, but for right now, I’m just taking it day by day, I don’t really want to get too ahead of myself.”