Quick Hits: M. Kelly, Angels, Royals, Shoemaker, Crochet

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D-backs righty Merrill Kelly is on the mend after undergoing thoracic outlet surgery and tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that to this point, the rehab process has been “way easier than I could have ever imagined.” Kelly expects to begin a throwing program later this month and struck a generally upbeat chord when discussing his future and his recovery process.

Thoracic outlet surgery has been a dagger to many careers in recent years, as the track record of successful returns from TOS is considerably smaller than with other major procedures like Tommy John surgery. That said, there have been some notable success stories, including Chris Young and Jaime Garcia. Tyson Ross had a nice 2018 campaign after 2016 TOS, and Royals righty Kyle Zimmer, who also had TOS surgery a few years ago, posted what looked like a breakout campaign in 2020.

The D-backs picked up a $4.25MM club option on Kelly for the 2021 season and hold a $5.25MM option on him for the 2022 campaign. Since coming over from the KBO following the 2018 season, Kelly has a 4.15 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 in 214 2/3 innings (37 starts).

A few more notes from around the league…

  • The Angels’ search for a general manager is down “to no more than three candidates,” though the names aren’t known, Jon Morosi of MLB.com tweets. That’s a significant drop-off for a team that has reportedly considered 14 candidates to replace the fired Billy Eppler. The Angels figure to complete a new round of interviews by the end of next week and should have a GM by Thanksgiving, according to Morosi.
  • More from Morosi, who reports (on Twitter) that the Royals have shown interest in free-agent righty Matt Shoemaker. They join the previously reported Red Sox in that regard. Injuries have limited Shoemaker during his Angels/Blue Jays career, which began in 2013, but he has been pretty effective when healthy enough to pitch. Shoemaker owns a 3.86 ERA/4.03 FIP with 8.07 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 602 1/3 innings.
  • Left-hander Garrett Crochet gave the White Sox a scare when he was pulled from a postseason game following a velocity dip and subsequently diagnosed with a flexor strain. However, the 2020 first-rounder tells MLB.com’s Scott Merkin that he’s now pain-free after some down time and, after a recent wave of tests, is set up to commence an offseason throwing program at his new home in Arizona. The organization hasn’t yet set a role for the flamethrower, but Crochet adds that he’s comfortable working as a starter or reliever and is merely focused on gaining more pro experience in 2021. The 21-year-old Crochet skyrocketed from the University of Tennessee to the Majors in a span of a couple months, holding opponents scoreless through 6 2/3 innings — postseason and regular season combined — and whiffing 10 of the 24 batters he faced.





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