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Reliever Kelley has bone chips in elbow

Righty tried to pitch through them before shutting it down Sept. 22
MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Shawn Kelley revealed Sunday that he has been pitching with bone chips in his right elbow for much of the season, which got progressively worse as the season went on.

Kelley's elbow finally reached the end of the line on Sept. 22 in New York when he was forced to leave the game early after experiencing numbness in his fingers and Washington placed him on the 60-day disabled list Saturday night to end what has been a disastrous 2017 season.

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WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Shawn Kelley revealed Sunday that he has been pitching with bone chips in his right elbow for much of the season, which got progressively worse as the season went on.

Kelley's elbow finally reached the end of the line on Sept. 22 in New York when he was forced to leave the game early after experiencing numbness in his fingers and Washington placed him on the 60-day disabled list Saturday night to end what has been a disastrous 2017 season.

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"It's not uncommon for me to have some sensory issues postgame or later that night, and it's fine the next day," Kelley said Sunday morning. "But if it starts happening on pitch 8, 9, 10, 11, then that's a problem."

The Nationals are exploring all treatment options to fix his elbow, including surgery. The range of motion in his arm was already a bit compromised after undergoing Tommy John surgery twice in his career, and Kelley said the bone chips began limiting his range of motion even further.

"Obviously I've got a special case with my elbow. It's very fragile," Kelley said. "We have to figure out how we're going to go from here to get me ready so that I don't miss any time starting in February."

Video: WSH@NYM: Kelley strikes out Rivera swinging for save

It provides some explanation for Kelley's struggles this season. He began the season as a closer candidate and even converted some saves in April before injuries began derailing his season. In 33 games, he posted a 7.27 ERA, which included surrendering a career-high 12 home runs in 26 innings.

And while Kelley was willing to acknowledge that injuries played a role in his disappointing season, he was not ready to use it as a complete excuse.

"Part of baseball and sports is injuries and managing it and dealing with it," Kelley said. "I really thought I could do that. But more recently, I would say it definitely hindered my performance. Definitely the last game. But the numbers and the stats, they are what they are. For me, it's just about trying to get all this figured out and get back to feeling like I did earlier in the season."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Shawn Kelley