AT&T Park — As the former first-round draft pick and onetime top-50 prospect stood near a vacant locker Friday after, he cherished his opportunity to get another MLB shot.
Right-hander Casey Kelly, drafted No. 30 overall by the Boston Red Sox in 2008, has spent the past nine seasons in three different minor league systems. He hasn’t made an MLB appearance since 2016 with the Atlanta Braves, but the Giants called him up on Friday, optioned reliever Derek Law to Triple-A Sacramento and transferred right-hander Johnny Cueto to the 60-day disabled list.
Kelly could start for San Francisco on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, though that decision will be made after Friday’s game.
“Whenever you get in contention for being called up, that’s always an awesome thing,” Kelly said. “To be called up is a dream come true.”
Manager Bruce Bochy isn’t sure if he wants to use Kelly as a starter or reliever but said he appreciates that versatility. Kelly had a 4.78 ERA in 23 starts in Triple-A Sacramento this season. If he pitches for the Giants, he would join rookie Dereck Rodriguez as the team’s second minor league free agent pickup to make an appearance.
Kelly said he’s worked on pounding the strike zone. He has his lowest BB/9 rate since he was a 19-year-old in the Red Sox organization.
“The biggest thing I think is just being consistent at this point,” Kelly added. “I feel like the last five or six starts I’ve been consistent.”
Kelly started out his career as a two-way player, according to The Athletic, appearing in 36 games as a position player in 2008.
His father, Pat Kelly, is currently the interim bench coach for the Cincinnati Reds. San Francisco will play the Reds next weekend.
First baseman Brandon Belt (knee) is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday before joining the Giants early next week. Bochy said Belt will play two or three games with Sacramento.
With the injuries to Belt this season, as well as injuries to starters Jeff Samardzija, Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto, as well as various injuries to Joe Panik, Mac Williamson, Hunter Pence and Evan Longoria, the Giants have been struggling to tread water. With no movement at the trade deadline, the Giants haven’t seen what they had perhaps hoped to see coming out of the All-Star break.
With the team two games under .500 with 46 to play, and seven games back of a playoff spot, the top decision-makers in the organization held a pow-wow for nearly an hour before Friday’s game.
“We just talked about some things which we do three-to-four times a year,” Bochy said. “We talked about the club and ways we can get better.”