Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Joe Kelly Feb 19, 2023; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Joe Kelly (17) warms up during spring training camp at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

When New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz sustained a knee injury, forcing him to undergo surgery, the baseball world reacted.

Some reactions were of support and understanding. Others, quite the opposite. Players alike were asked about the Diaz injury, which occurred during Team Puerto Rico’s celebration on Wednesday vs. The Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic.

For Chicago White Sox starter Joe Kelly, his reaction to what observers said was pretty simple.

It is what it is.

“I can get hurt right now driving home and get paralyzed and break my neck in a car accident,” Kelly told “It doesn’t matter. People are always going to give an excuse.”

The controversy surrounding the injury was due to the fact that some believe this injury wouldn’t have taken place if the WBC didn’t take place when it did. Right before the regular season.

Or quite frankly, the tournament shouldn’t occur at all.

Their words, not mine.

“If you have an excuse saying like ‘Oh, he shouldn’t have played,’ shut up, dude. Just shut your mouth,” Kelly said. “It doesn’t matter. That’s not why he got hurt,” Kelly continued. “It could’ve happened Game One of the playoffs or it could’ve happened game one of Opening Day of him jumping and if his cartilage was already weak it could’ve ripped.”

Kelly, who is entering his 12th season, said these freak accidents happen every season. He even broke his back when he was picking up an 80-pound crawfish boil pot. He almost herniated one of his discs.

“So there’s always going to be something stupid that happens,” Kelly said. “Someone cuts their hand making dinner.”

And at the end of the day, Kelly likes what the tournament brings to the sport.

“I think the World Baseball Classic is great for baseball and you want every superstar playing in it as much as you can,” Kelly said. “Injuries happen.”

The WBC has been electric from the beginning and a way for players (of the professional and non-pro variety) to represent their respective countries. It’s more than just an exhibition game.


About Jessica Kleinschmidt

Jess is a baseball fan with Reno, Nev. roots residing in the Bay Area. She is the host of "Short and to the Point" and is also a broadcaster with the Oakland A's Radio Network. She previously worked for and NBC Sports Bay Area.