One more test will determine if reliever Kelley needs elbow surgery

In the seven years since Shawn Kelley had Tommy John ligament surgery in his right elbow, he has pitched his way into the major leagues and been a integral part of the Mariners’ bullpen.

That’s not to mean the elbow didn’t hurt pretty badly during and between outings, but it remained sound structurally and he pitched on.

Not now.

Kelley hasn’t pitched since June 16 he’ll continue a series of tests on Monday that he hopes will determine why he’s hurting and, gulp, whether he’ll need more surgery. Kelley said this morning that he’ll undergo a stress X-ray which he hopes will show the stability of the elbow joint. Tests on Friday, an MRI and a CAT scan, weren’t conclusive.

While manager Don Wakamatsu seemed fairly certain that surgery is needed, Kelley won’t go that far.


“It’s not for sure that’s the route we’re going to go. But that’s a possibility,” Kelley told The Herald this morning. “It’s a decision I’ll have to make. I’ve got one more test tomorrow and we’ll see how that goes. That will tell if the ligament has been stretched out. If it is, then that would be enough cause to need Tommy John anyway. “

In his mind, Kelley is preparing himself for surgery. If Monday’s test isn’t conclusive, surgery may be the only way to find what’s been causing the pain.

“I just can’t go all offseason wondering if it’s OK and come to spring training not being 100 percent. I might feel good coming to spring and then try to get it going and then I’m right back to where I am right now,” he said. “”I’m not going to miss a lot of time by going in there (and learning nothing is wrong). It’s a lot more work for me because I’m going to have to rehab it pretty hard this offseason, but at the same time I’ll know going into spring if I’m OK.

“It’s kind of a no-brainer for me.”

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