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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Padres release Phil Hughes

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The Padres have released right-hander Phil Hughes. He was recently designated for assignment.

Hughes was traded from the Twins to the Padres at the end of May in a deal that was, essentially, the Padres acquiring a Competitive Balance pick and agreeing to pick up half of Hughes outstanding salary, which is $13.2 million in 2019. The Padres used him for 16 relief appearances but he was terrible, posting a 6.10 ERA.

The 32-year-old is a 12-year veteran. Given that he’ll basically be free to anyone who wants him, it’s not unreasonable to think he’ll get a non-roster invite to someone’s spring training next year, but it could very well be the end for him as well.