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.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.