Joe Kelly expected to be activated from disabled list Friday

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Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly hasn’t pitched in the majors since April 16 due to a severe strain of his left hamstring, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the plan calls for him to be activated to start Friday against the Brewers.

Kelly allowed one run over 4 1/3 innings for Triple-A Memphis yesterday and owns a 2.61 ERA and 4/6 K/BB ratio in 10 1/3 innings through three minor league rehab starts. The original expectation was that he would make one more start in the minors before being activated, but it turns out that he’ll replace the recently-optioned Marco Gonzalez in the rotation. Tyler Lyons, who was called up to take Gonzalez’s spot on the roster, will pitch out of the bullpen.

Kelly won the fifth starter job over Carlos Martinez out of spring training and posted a 0.59 ERA over his first three starts in April before the hamstring strain. Because of injuries to Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia, now Kelly and Martinez will both have spots in the rotation.