Jaime Garcia has been cleared to return, so the Cardinals are shifting Joe Kelly to the ‘pen


Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly has posted a solid 3.41 ERA this season over the first 12 starts of his major league career, serving as a fantastic fill-in for injured lefty Jaime Garcia. But Garcia just wrapped up a rehab assignment Tuesday night at Triple-A Memphis, so Kelly’s run in the rotation is over.

According to FOX Sports Midwest, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny announced to the media a few hours before first pitch Wednesday against the Diamondbacks that Kelly will be moved to the bullpen for the remainder of the 2012 season.

Garcia — out since early June with a strained shoulder — is set to return Sunday to face the Pirates.

Kelly has never been considered an elite prospect, but the 24-year-old certainly displayed some positives in his 68 2/3 innings in the St. Louis rotation and has a chance to play a big role in long relief down the stretch.

The Cardinals enter play Wednesday night with a 63-53 record, ranking third in the National League Central.

Chris Sale exits game with hip contusion

Chris Sale
AP Images

Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale made a hasty exit from his final Grapefruit League outing on Saturday after sustaining a left hip contusion. He was struck on the leg with a line drive from the Astros’ J.D. Davis in the first inning and immediately collapsed on the mound. He was able to walk off the field without a noticeable limp, however, and later told reporters that the ball struck a nerve and temporarily stunned his leg. As a precautionary move, the Red Sox pulled him after the incident and will have the left-hander undergo X-rays to rule out any further injury to his hip.

This was expected to be Sale’s last start of spring training. Prior to Saturday’s matinee against the Astros, the 28-year-old southpaw made three starts in camp, allowing five runs, one home run, three walks and striking out 18 batters in 14 innings. He’s still on track to start the season for the Red Sox during their road opener against the Rays next Thursday.