It happened so quickly, hardly anyone saw it.
Minutes before the Seattle Mariners stretched Wedneseday, reliever Mark Lowe was on all fours, lifting his legs behind him, getting loose. Teammate Shawn Kelley bent down to grab one of Lowe’s feet – just as Lowe kicked out.
Kelley got a spike in the chin, stayed on his feet, but was bloodied.
“I couldn’t tell where it was, but my whole jaw hurt and I felt blood,” Kelley said. “I thought, ‘I might look pretty bad.’”
Kelley headed for the training room and his bullpen teammates, being the sensitive types, immediately began abusing him.
“If he was a real man, he’d still be out here,” David Aardsma said.
Lowe remained quiet.
“I was worried about him,” he admitted.
When trainer Rick Griffin came out, pitchers surrounded him and learned a local doctor was stitching up Kelley’s gash. Pitchers being pitchers, they immediately started a pool – how many stitches would Kelley need.
After the workout, veterans Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee and Erik Bedard were among the first in the clubhouse, each of them anxious to look at Kelley’s bloodied goatree.
“How many stitches,” asked Felix.
“Six,” said Kelley.
Bedard threw up a fist and yelled ‘yes!’
Bedard had six stitches in the pool. Lee was off – he had 13. Hernandez had gone with four.
Kelley will be fine, and wanted to return to the workout but was told by the doctor to just take it easy, so he did.
“I think Mark felt worse about it than I did,” Kelley said. “He came in and we kissed and made up. He was worried. I was just afraid I wouldn’t look as good any more, then they said the cut was in the beard and I relaxed.”