Joe Kelly tossed four shutout innings in a minor-league rehab start Tuesday at Triple-A, but Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals aren’t quite ready to activate him from the disabled list.
That means Kelly will make at least one more rehab start and rookie Marco Gonzalez will get at least one more turn in the rotation after allowing 10 runs in 9.1 innings through his first two outings.
Kelly has been out for nearly three months with a hamstring injury and tossed only 49 pitches Tuesday, so it makes sense to have him build up more arm strength. And manager Mike Matheny also told Hummel that there was “still not a real good feel for his off-speed pitches” Tuesday.
Kelly had a 0.59 ERA in three starts before being shut down and a 2.83 ERA in 34 career starts for the Cardinals, but this injury has proven to be a lot more significant than initially expected.
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.