St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly (58) bends over in pain after trying to bunt for a hit in the fifth inning during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Kelly was injured on the play and had to leave the game. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Kelly nearing return to St. Louis Cardinals

When St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly went down with a hamstring injury in mid-April, the immediate thought was that he would not be on the shelf for an extended period of time. Unfortunately for Kelly and the Cardinals, though, he was later diagnosed with a torn hamstring, and two months later, the 26-year-old right-hander has not sniffed a return to the team. That, however, will likely change in the next two to three weeks.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Kelly’s new timetable:

Cardinals righthander Joe Kelly has advanced enough in his healing from a torn hamstring that the club could see him back in the majors in “two or three weeks,” general manager John Mozeliak said.

Manager Mike Matheny said the role available for Kelly will help determine his length of his eventual rehab assignment.

Aside from his projected date of return, easily the most intriguing part of Goold’s report comes in that there is no defined role for Kelly upon his return. St. Louis is the rare example of a Major League franchise with a surplus of pitching, and the Cardinals have potential aces including Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal currently serving in roles out of the bullpen.

Kelly made three starts before hitting the disabled list, compiling an 0.59 ERA in 15.1 innings, but despite that dominance, there is some concern about his long-term prospects as a starter. The first thing on the horizon for Joe Kelly is returning to pitching activity, but when he arrives, it may be with a bullpen role awaiting him.

Tags: Joe Kelly St. Louis Cardinals

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