Back issues hold Kelley out of series opener

Yankees' bullpen left rail thin for Monday's game against the Mets
05/12/2014 11:46 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Joe Girardi hopes Shawn Kelley will be available for the team's game on Tuesday night.(AP)
The already-depleted New York Yankees bullpen was dealt another possible blow Monday, as manager Joe Girardi revealed that right-hander Shawn Kelley was unavailable for the Subway Series opener because of a lingering back issue.

"(Kelley) came in after batting practice and he's still not right. I thought that we would have him today, but he just does not have the flexibility to finish his pitches," Girardi said after the Yankees' 9-7 loss to the New York Mets. "He had tests earlier and it came back negative, and there are no more planned. It's just he has to get back to where he needs to be to pitch."

Kelley, who last pitched last Tuesday in Anaheim, had said before Sunday's game that he felt as if he was good to go, but Girardi wasn't willing to call his lack of availability Monday as a setback by any means.

"I don't know what you'd call it. It's one thing to say that you're ready to go when you haven't really warmed up, when you're in the clubhouse and nice and warm and just got treatment, but it's different once you warm up," the skipper said. "He warmed up yesterday and felt that he couldn't finish his pitches, and he felt the same way today."

With Kelley missing, the Yankees bullpen was even more short-handed on Monday, as Girardi had said he would likely stay away from both Dellin Betances and Adam Warren because of their recent workload.

The situation forced Girardi to use Alfredo Aceves, who he said was still a possibility to start Thursday despite throwing roughly 20 pitches Monday night. In the end, the skipper saw his bullpen give up five runs in three innings, with several pitchers in roles they're not necessarily accustomed to.

"We really struggled today. We didn't make pitches," Girardi said. "We didn't have some guys that we usually use, and we asked some guys to do some things they don't usually do and it backfired."

With the position player roster just as banged up -- Ichiro Suzuki was unavailable because of knee and back pain from a sliding catch attempt Sunday, Mark Teixeira was limited to a pinch-hitting appearance because of lingering leg soreness and fatigue and Carlos Beltran left Monday's game in the seventh inning with a hyperextended elbow -- Girardi wasn't sure if the team would need to make a move to add reinforcements, but either way, they have to do the best they can with what they have.

"It's something that we'll wait to see what Carlos is, and it's something we'll talk about. We should get Betances back tomorrow, hopefully Kelley, we'll just have to wait and see," Girardi said. "You just have to find a way, and some guys have to step up."


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