Dodgers should welcome key reliever back soon as Joe Kelly injury timeline stays muddy

The Dodgers bullpen will be gaining a high-variance arm this homestand.
Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers
Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

While the Dodgers continue to wait for trade deadline acquisition Joe Kelly to scowl, sneer, and whip 98 MPH fastballs past unsuspecting batters, their bullpen still seems to be on the verge of gaining a powerful right arm.

Kelly, who was initially eligible to return Aug. 25 after feeling elbow pain, has reportedly not made much progress since a bullpen session earlier in the month. Dave Roberts insists he'll be back for the postseason, but the clock is ticking.

On the flip side, though, it seems Kelly's innings could be absorbed by offseason scrap heap pickup Shelby Miller, who established himself as a weapon more often than not before suffering a neck injury on June 21 and going down for the count.

While Kelly has no firm timeline and Blake Treinen's prognosis is even worse, Miller will likely be rejoining the Dodgers in the middle of their current homestand, with a month of runway to go before October roster decisions must be made.

Shelby Miller should make it back to Dodgers before Blake Treinen, Joe Kelly

Miller's not a lock for a playoff spot (especially if Kelly's recovery speeds up), but prior to his injury, he posted a 2.40 ERA in 30 innings, striking out 31 and allowing only ... wait for it ... 12 hits. Three of them were homers and they were accompanied by 18 walks, but ... still!

Signing Miller this offseason represented one of the rare instances where transgressive baseball thought went mainstream, then turned out to be as worthwhile as everyone theorized. The Dodgers saw something in Miller's 6.43 ERA and 14 Ks in 7.0 innings with the Giants last September, once all the NL races had been run. So did everybody else. A "So Crazy It Just Might Work!" move that everyone predicts will succeed doesn't usually succeed this seamlessly, but inking Miller did, prior to his midsummer setback.

Hopefully, he can continue to prove the Dodgers right down the stretch run as they pull away from his former team in San Francisco in the NL West. The innings might not come from Kelly, but they're certainly coming from someone.