Joe Kelly begins rehab assignment after multiple setbacks

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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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Astros release Jon Singleton

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The Astros have released first baseman Jon Singleton, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Singleton, 26, was suspended for 100 games after testing positive for a drug of abuse for a third time. He has had issues with marijuana in the post and admitted to being a drug addict several years ago. He said, “At this point it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict. I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself. I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that. So I have to work against that.”

Singleton played parts of two seasons in the majors in 2014-15 with the Astros, batting a combined .171/.290/.331 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI in — appropriately — 420 plate appearances. He spent 2016 with Triple-A Fresno and 2017 with Double-A Corpus Christi, putting up middling numbers.

If he can convince teams he’s still actively working to overcome his addiction, Singleton may be able to find an opportunity elsewhere. But his road back to the majors remains long. He was once a top prospect in the Phillies’ system, then was traded to the Astros in the Hunter Pence deal back in July 2011.