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Kelly ticketed for Portland

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 9, 2009 10:55 AM

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The Red Sox just made 20-year-old Casey Kelley available on a conference call along with Director of Player Development Mike Hazen. The topic was Kelly's recent decision to devote himself to pitching after spending half the 2009 season as a shortstop.

Kelly has an invitation to major league spring training and according to Hazen, he will get every chance to join the rotation at Double-A Portland.

Kelly was 7-5 with a 2.08 ERA over 95 innings in Single-A ball last season.

The decision was a "no-doubter" because pitching will get him to the big leagues faster than shortstop would have.

"It took me a long time, sitting down with my family and talking over everything," he said. "Just sat down, put the emotion aside and asked myself what my main goal was in baseball and that was to make it to the big leagues. Pitching will get me there faster and I'l have a longer career in the big leagues."

Kelly said the challenge will be learning how to use the four days between starts to prepare himself to perform well. He also needs more innings to further develop his arm. If the career of Clay Buchholz can be used as a guide, Kelly will probably be allowed to throw roughly 130 innings next season

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