But Farrell made it clear that the club isn't ready to give up on Kelly's viability as a starting pitcher.
"Haven't made the decision on the next turn through the rotation. The primary goal is we've got to get Joe to deliver the ball more consistently," said Farrell. "For a guy that's that athletic, you would think his athleticism would allow him to repeat a delivery and command the baseball better. There's no questioning that the walks are up a tick, per nine innings, as are the hits. All that suggests is that the command in the strike zone is inconsistent. We're working to get that ironed out more."
Asked specifically if it might behoove both Kelly (2-5, 5.67 ERA) and the Red Sox to move him to the bullpen, Farrell said, "That path hasn't been selected. The end game or the end goal is clearly to get him more consistent. How that path unfolds remains to be seen."
Earlier this season, when the Red Sox called Eduardo Rodriguez up from Triple-A Pawtucket, the lefty flourished and has become a big part of the rotation.
Is there the temptation to bring up another young starter, such as lefty Brian Johnson?
"You're always looking at guys to either capture some momentum with the way they're pitching and look to insert them to get some contributions," said Farrell. "I would hope -- I'd be the first to sign up if there's another Eduardo Rodriguez waiting to step in. Setting that aside, we're looking at everything that's available to us."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.