Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Former Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly made his return to Dodger Stadium during a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox, which was also a chance to see teammates from the 2018 Boston Red Sox World Series roster.
Prior to signing with the Dodgers, Kelly spent four and a half seasons with the Red Sox after they acquired him in the summer of 2014. Kelly’s tenure in Boston concluded with a World Series title in 2018, when he played alongside Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez.
In the bottom of the sixth inning on Wednesday, Kelly was called upon in a bases loaded jam with Betts and Martinez due up. The right-hander had a tough task, but recalled that he appreciated facing his former Red Sox teammates in an interview with David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports:
“That was awesome, man. It was definitely a cool thing to see. Obviously at that point in the game, didn’t know which team was going to win or lose. I came in bases loaded, one out, and Mookie, obviously one of the best players in the league. Made my pitches and he found a very slow dribbler through. It was a good time. Had to lock it back in and get J.D. with a fastball. That’s always fun. Played with him in Boston. It was great. I had a good time.”
Kelly allowed just one hit — a soft single to Betts that scored two of the inherited runners. Kelly pitched again on Thursday night, completing a scoreless inning.
The 35-year-old was well received by Dodgers fans as he received cheers when announced as the pitcher for both games.
Dodgers welcome Joe Kelly with cutout of ‘Mariachi Joe’
During batting practice on Wednesday, the Dodgers placed a cardboard cutout of Kelly by the White Sox dugout. The photo of choice was the famed mariachi outfit Kelly wore to the White House in 2021 to celebrate the Dodgers winning the 2020 World Series.
Kelly wore a classic mariachi jacket and a pair of Betts’ pants, encapsulating his fan-favorite persona. Although the early days of Kelly’s tenure with the Dodgers weren’t great on the field, his grit and personality throughout his time with the organization left a lasting impression.
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