Boston's Kelly starts 6-game suspension after appeal denied
TORONTO (AP) — Joe Kelly's appeal of a six-game suspension was denied by John McHale Jr., a special assistant to baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, and the Boston pitcher started serving the penalty on Thursday night against Toronto.
"It's disappointing," Kelly said. "Suspensions are always not fun. Went in there and went through the appeal process. Obviously it didn't work out too well."
Following the decision, Kelly posted a message on Twitter that read "At least take me to dinner first..."
Kelly was disciplined for twice throwing at the New York Yankees' Tyler Austin on April 11. Austin charged the mound and was suspended five games, a penalty cut to four Thursday by McHale.
Despite the outcome, Kelly said he didn't regret appealing.
"I always like sticking up for myself," he said. "It kind of helps me sleep at night going in fighting for what I believe in."
Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he had expected a reduction in Kelly's suspension.
"If I was a gambling man, I would have bet a dollar that they would have at least reduced it to five, but it didn't happen," Cora said.
Kelly has a 3.09 ERA in 11 games this season. After allowing four runs in one-third of an inning in an opening-day loss to Tampa Bay, the right-hander has not allowed a run in 11 1/3 innings. Boston will have to play with 24 active players during the suspension.
"It's a tough time," Kelly said. "We're playing good baseball and, especially for myself, I felt like I was getting into a little bit of a rhythm."
Kelly said he expects to throw a bullpen session to stay sharp during his suspension. He is eligible to return Wednesday against Kansas City.
Cora said left-hander Brian Johnson and right-hander Hector Velazquez will see more action during Kelly's suspension.
"B.J. has to step up," Cora said. "We also feel Hector can do the job."