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    Dodgers’ Joe Kelly hoping to unlock better results after exit from Chicago
    • July 30, 2023

    LOS ANGELES ― Joe Kelly would have traded himself and Lance Lynn, too.

    On the day the 35-year-old right-hander joined his new – and old – team, Kelly was more than understanding of the circumstances that led the Chicago White Sox to trade him back to the Dodgers on Friday for outfielder Trayce Thompson and minor league pitchers Nick Nastrini and Jordan Leasure.

    The Dodgers activated Kelly for Saturday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds and designated pitcher Phil Bickford for assignment in a corresponding move. Lynn is expected to arrive Sunday, then start Tuesday or Wednesday against the Oakland A’s.

    By then, the Dodgers will have completed their post-trade deadline roster transformation. Meanwhile, the White Sox will have finished their teardown, having committed to rebuilding after falling more than 10 games out of first place in a weak American League Central.

    For Kelly, getting traded was a case of “no hard feelings” – or, rather, no feelings at all.

    “I don’t have as much attachment as most people,” he said. “I lack empathy. I’ve heard that multiple times. I don’t get sad at things that make other people sad. I don’t shed tears when other people should shed tears. If I was running a team, the White Sox, I think they’re doing exactly what they need to do. You’ve got free agents, or guys with options – stuff you can get back, build for a new season, add to your team in the future, I think it’s smart to do.”

    Kelly emerged as a fan favorite in three seasons with the Dodgers (2019-21), which culminated with a World Series ring in 2020.

    Kelly signed with the White Sox as a free agent following the 2021 season. He posted a 5.59 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 74 appearances over the past two seasons. But he has 41 strikeouts in 29 innings this season and has held batters to a .228 average.

    “I think all my numbers on the periphery are the best of my career,” he said. “Best velocity. It’s one of those things you really can’t control. You can control ERA, but sometimes it’s out of your hands.”

    Asked about his uptick in velocity – Kelly’s fastball is averaging 99.0 mph this season, matching his 2017 peak – he theorized that “I’ve put my body in better positions mechanically.” He also acknowledged that collaborating with the Dodgers’ pitching coaches could help unlock results he was unable to achieve in Chicago.

    Lynn has struggled this season, too. His 6.47 ERA is the highest among pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title. He also led the AL in hits allowed (130) and MLB in home runs (28) and earned runs (86) allowed at the time of the trade.

    “There’s a lot of smart people here where, maybe they’ll show him something that he didn’t even realize or know he was doing wrong,” Kelly said. “Maybe mechanically or the way he was holding his fingers. … It’s going to be fun to watch him get re-energized a little bit.”

    Bickford, 28, was originally claimed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers in May 2021. He went on to post an excellent 2.50 ERA and 1.033 WHIP in 56 appearances out of the Dodgers’ bullpen. In two seasons since then, Bickford has a 4.89 ERA while rarely appearing in high-leverage situations.


    Orel Hershiser was inducted into the “Legends of Dodger Baseball” in a pregame ceremony Saturday. A three-time All-Star, Hershiser is best known for authoring a streak of 59 consecutive scoreless innings, pitching the Dodgers to upset victories in the National League Championship Series and World Series, and winning the NL Cy Young Award in 1988.

    Hershiser is now in his 10th season as the Dodgers’ primary color commentator on SportsNet LA, nearly matching his 13 seasons with the Dodgers as a player. While Hershiser has spoken often about his heroics in 1988, the story of how he embarked on a broadcasting career that ultimately led back to Los Angeles has never been told.

    Hershiser began contemplating his post-playing career options long before he retired. He would sometimes observe spring training games from the television truck in the parking lot at Vero Beach. He practiced game broadcasts on top of the Holman Stadium press box with teammate Jerry Reuss, who also turned to broadcasting in retirement.

    After four years as a pitching coach and front office assistant for the Texas Rangers, Hershiser had an opportunity to continue under first-year General Manager Jon Daniels in 2006. At the urging of his wife, Dana, Hershiser called ESPN’s Chris Berman, with whom Hershiser had already broadcast some Little League World Series games for ESPN.

    “(Berman) called Norby Williamson, who was in charge of baseball programming for ESPN. And within a day I was packing up that office and going to ESPN,” Hershiser said.

    After eight years as a color analyst with ESPN, Hershiser joined SportsNet LA in 2014.


    Clayton Kershaw threw a three-inning simulated game against teammates as he attempts to return from a shoulder injury. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that as long as Kershaw remains asymptomatic, he is a candidate to rejoin the rotation without a minor league rehabilitation start. …

    Mookie Betts was scratched from the lineup with soreness in his right ankle. Roberts said Betts suffered the injury Friday when he twisted out of the way of an inside pitch. …

    Roberts said Lynn, Julio Urías and Tony Gonsolin are scheduled to start in the three-game series against the Oakland A’s in some order.


    Cincinnati Reds (RHP Graham Ashcraft, 5-7, 5.64 ERA) at Dodgers (RHP Michael Grove 2-2, 6.19 ERA), Sunday, 1 p.m., SportsNet LA, 570 AM

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    ​ Orange County Register