ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Merrill Kelly feeling fine, D-backs figuring out answers on hamstring

Aug 25, 2023, 5:50 PM | Updated: Aug 26, 2023, 9:57 am

Starting pitcher Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after an apparent injury befo...

Starting pitcher Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after an apparent injury before the top of the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Chase Field on August 24, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Bad luck in the form of health issues has followed Merrill Kelly for a large part of an otherwise stellar 2023 season.

The Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander was terrific on Thursday night, twirling a one-hitter over seven innings while tying a career high with 12 strikeouts on just 86 pitches.

However, when he came out for the eighth inning, he had to leave the game with a trainer due to a right hamstring cramp.

“I wish I could’ve made it through the eighth to break the tie,” Kelly said to Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Friday, describing his “nagging hammy” to listeners and saying it was doing “fine.”

“It’s been hotter than normal at Chase,” Kelly said, saying it was just a cramp. “We’ll meet with the nutritionist today … and try and get a game plan going forward.”

Kelly said when pitching in Korea in 2019, he’d have cramping issues with his forearms and legs.

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo was protective of his player when he spoke to Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday.

“I’m going to protect a player and their health all the time,” Lovullo said. “I never want to put someone in harm’s way. … We certainly can’t lose Merrill.

“He came out the other side and we dodged a bullet. But something’s going on. And we’ve gotta find a way to dig in and do the research the medical team was starting on that last night. They’re gonna figure out how to assist Merrill in this situation. Whether it’s diet, whether it’s changing up the exercise routine … we’re gonna turn over everything we possibly can to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

As previously mentioned, this is not an unusual occurrence for Kelly, who had to leave the Aug. 9 start under similar circumstances. He missed a month between June and July with a blood clot in his right calf.

However, when Kelly’s able to answer the call and take the ball, he’s been outstanding: He’s 10-5 with a 2.97 start in 23 starts.

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