After numerous delays Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly is finally on the verge of coming back from a hamstring injury that’s sidelined him since mid-April.
Kelly tossed 41 pitches in a minor-league rehab outing at Triple-A over the weekend, allowing two runs in two innings in his first game action in months.
As of June 16 general manager John Mozeliak said that Kelly was “two or three weeks” from rejoining the Cardinals. That timetable now seems overly optimistic, but he’s finally making actual progress and seemingly could be ready by mid-July.
Kelly had a 0.59 ERA in three starts before the injury and for his career the 26-year-old has posted a 2.83 ERA in 34 starts, which is essentially one full season’s worth of time in a rotation.
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Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.