Here is the story of how former Cardinals righthander Joe Kelly found out he was traded to the Red Sox.
Kelly, part of Thursday’s deal that sent John Lackey to St. Louis, was scrolling through Twitter while sitting in a training room with former Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
“Hey, it looks like the Cardinals are going to get Lackey,” Kelly told Pierzynski upon reading a tweet.
“Oh yeah?” Pierzynski said. “How do you know?”
“I’ve got a source on Twitter,” Kelly said.
“Yeah, ’cause everything on Twitter’s true,” Pierzynski responded.
“All right, just wait,” Kelly said.
“Fifteen minutes later,” Kelly said Saturday at Fenway Park, after the Sox added him to the active roster, “Lackey was traded.”
But Kelly didn’t know which Cardinals players were involved in the deal.
“I just kept looking, looking, and I was like, ‘Man, I wonder who it could be?’ ” Kelly said. “Then I saw it pop up: [Allen] Craig and Kelly for Lackey.”
He walked over to Pierzynski.
“Told you Twitter’s true,” Kelly told the catcher.
Next, he received a phone call from his agent about the trade. Then he saw the news on MLB Network.
Finally, he was called for a meeting with Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and general manager John Mozeliak. They confirmed the trade.
“Hectic,” Kelly said of the past 48 hours. “It’s something that happens in baseball, and, like I said, it could happen to anyone. When I got the news I was definitely shocked and surprised, but I found out it was Boston, and I figured it was one great baseball town to another. So definitely looking forward to it.”
Kelly, 26, is 17-14 with a 3.25 ERA in his three-year career, all with the Cardinals. In 2013, his best statistical season, he was 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA.
“I feature a sinking fastball, and a curveball, slider, and a changeup,” said Kelly, who is 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA in seven starts this season. “I’d probably label myself as a sinkerball pitcher. I like to get quick outs and put away guys with some offspeed pitches.”
Kelly, whose roster spot was opened when Anthony Ranaudo, Friday night’s starter, was sent back to Pawtucket, has spent most of this season on the DL with a left hamstring strain, suffered when he was trying to beat out a bunt April 16.
“I like to sprint after balls,” Kelly said. “I did anything I could help myself to win in the National League. That’s how I got hurt: I tried to drag bunt for myself and get a base hit. I like to play the game 100 percent, and people don’t think pitchers are very athletic and can do that. But that’s kind of my style: Any way I can help my team win, I try to do it.”
With the Red Sox, Kelly’s first chance to do that will be against his former team: The Sox play the Cardinals in a three-game series starting Tuesday, with Kelly slated to start the middle game of the series.
“It’s going to be weird,” Kelly said. “But you’ve just got to stay focused and mentally strong and go out there and pitch as if you didn’t know those guys.”
Kelly — whose Twitter avatar is a picture of him and a sea lion, and whose bio @JosephKellyJr reads, “The incredible hunk . . . Follow me or delete your account. I love you” — said he approaches the sport with simplicity.
“Baseball’s ultimately a game,” he said. “I love winning, but I just like going out there and have a smile on my face and just be relaxed. When you’re having fun, you usually tend to play the game a little bit better than when you’re not having fun.”
It’s that outlook, he said, that helped him pitch in last season’s World Series against the Red Sox.
He started the Cardinals’ 5-4 Game 3 win, pitching 5⅓ innings and allowing two runs on two hits with six strikeouts in a no-decision.
“There’s just so much outside factors — media, fans, people just say, ‘Hey how’s it going to be pitching the World Series?’ ” Kelly said. “And I just took it as another game, just going out there and having fun. And I think that’s the best way to look at it.”
The best way to look at Twitter now? As a reputable, 100 percent accurate source, all the time?
“Debatable,” Kelly said.Rob Harms can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @harms__way.