Shawn Kelley on trade to Padres: I expect to be pinch hitting by May

In 236 MLB appearances, relief pitcher Shawn Kelley has never stepped into the batter’s box. Now, with a trade to the National League, it’s only a matter of time (he hopes).

Kelley was dealt from the New York Yankees to the San Diego Padres on Sunday. Kelley had spent two years pitching out of the Yankees’ bullpen following four years with the Seattle Mariners. Monday on MLB Network Radio, he joked that with the trade, he’s turned all of his focus away from the rubber, and over to his swing.

“Yesterday, I spent two-and-a-half hours in the batting cage,” Kelley laughed. “I probably won’t even throw until spring training starts. I’ll probably just hit all offseason now. … I expect to be pinch hitting by May.”

As for what his real role will be (sorry, Kelley), the right-hander expects to play a pivotal role in the Padres’ bullpen.

“They’ve got Benoit at the back-end, and basically, they’re looking to shut things down from the seventh inning on,” Kelley said, “and I would be a part of that. I’m assuming I’ll have a key role late in the game.”

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