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Casey Kelly undergoing tests for sore pitching elbow, could need Tommy John surgery

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Troubling news this evening out of Padres camp.

According to beat writer Corey Brock of MLB.com, top pitching prospect Casey Kelly “will have tests done” this week on his right (pitching) elbow, which has been plagued by soreness since his last Cactus League start on March 7 against the Angels.

Kelly began experiencing elbow discomfort last April and was shut down for the next three months as a precautionary measure. Tests taken throughout that period of rest ruled out any structural damage, but there is obviously something not quite right.

The 23-year-old right-hander was rated the Padres’ top prospect this winter by Baseball America and he ranked 45th on Baseball America‘s Top 100 for 2013. The future remains bright but is for now partly cloudy.

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UPDATE, 6:54 PM: Padres manager Bud Black told Brock that the “doctors are concerned what the tests look like” and said Kelly needs to talk to his family before making any further decisions. He may also get a second opinion on the elbow. It seems like Kelly is headed for Tommy John reconstructive surgery.

Report: Mariners acquire Chris Heston from the Giants

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.

Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.

Joe Nathan wants to pitch in 2017

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 16: Joe Nathan #36 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the ninth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park on August 16, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Mariners 4-2.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
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Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.

Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.

According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.