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Red Sox reliever Zack Kelly leaves game with elbow injury

Red Sox relief pitcher Zack Kelly was checked on after appearing to suffer an arm injury Wednesday night against the Rays.Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Red Sox reliever Zack Kelly left Wednesday night’s game against the Rays in the fifth inning with what the team called right elbow pain. After the game, Kelly said that he felt the pain but felt like he could pitch through it.

Kelly took over for starter Chris Sale in the fifth and plunked Tampa Bay’s Yandy Diaz with two outs. Kelly then dropped to the dirt, placing his hands over his face.

Visibly emotional, Kelly grabbed at his pitching (right) elbow while a member of the training staff and Cora rushed to his side.

Kelly reacts after hitting Tampa's Yandy Diaz in the fifth inning Wednesday night.Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

“I was definitely emotional for two reasons: One, because I care,” Kelly said. “I care about this game, these guys. I really enjoy doing this. And two, all the [expletive] that I went through to get here. Whenever something like that happens, I get emotional about it.”


When Kelly was with the Angels in 2020, he blew out his elbow during spring training and underwent surgery (internal bracing procedure).

Kelly made his big league debut last year with the Red Sox and had pitched well, with a 1.35 ERA in 6⅔ innings before Wednesday’s outing, in which he allowed two earned runs.

Kelly will travel back to Boston with the team Thursday and undergo imaging Friday.

Julian McWilliams can be reached at Follow him @byJulianMack.