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Jaime Garcia has been cleared to return, so the Cardinals are shifting Joe Kelly to the ‘pen

Aug 15, 2012, 7:38 PM EDT

joe kelly cardinals getty Getty Images

Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly has posted a solid 3.41 ERA this season over the first 12 starts of his major league career, serving as a fantastic fill-in for injured lefty Jaime Garcia. But Garcia just wrapped up a rehab assignment Tuesday night at Triple-A Memphis, so Kelly’s run in the rotation is over.

According to FOX Sports Midwest, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny announced to the media a few hours before first pitch Wednesday against the Diamondbacks that Kelly will be moved to the bullpen for the remainder of the 2012 season.

Garcia — out since early June with a strained shoulder — is set to return Sunday to face the Pirates.

Kelly has never been considered an elite prospect, but the 24-year-old certainly displayed some positives in his 68 2/3 innings in the St. Louis rotation and has a chance to play a big role in long relief down the stretch.

The Cardinals enter play Wednesday night with a 63-53 record, ranking third in the National League Central.

  1. okwhitefalcon - Aug 15, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    It’ll be interesting to see the corresponding roster move when Garcia is activated, seems as though it will probably be Trevor Rosenthal taking the train to Memphis.

    He won’t be there long, a sure September call up I presume…

    • 78mu - Aug 16, 2012 at 12:12 AM

      At least Kerlly doesn’t have to worry about getting shipped to Memphis when Brian Fuentes comes back. It sounds like Tito Fuentes has a better chance of playing in St. Louis and he’s been retired since the ’70’s.

  2. maynardstool - Aug 15, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    I’m not sure that it’s a sure fire upgrade at this point. IMO its a pretty big risk. If he’s not right and he loses his first 2-3 starts it could push them out of contention.

    I just don’t see how the injury he had would heal itself without surgery

    • okwhitefalcon - Aug 15, 2012 at 9:45 PM

      I don’t think it’s sure fire by any means, Garcia wasn’t exactly sharp in his 4 rehab starts.

      I suspect he’ll have an extremely short leash, especially with the added flexibility Kelly will provide along with expanded rosters Sept 1.

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 16, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      I am with you Maynard. Personally, I expect nothing out of Jaime this year.
      As WhiteFalcon stated…I am sure the leash will be very short as well.

  3. thomas655 - Aug 16, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Garcia had a great 2011 season, but showed me nothing special anytime this season. I do not know if the injury happened much earlier than we were told, but he has not been the same caliber pitcher this season compared to last season. Kelly has been a pretty good fill-in, I would keep him in the mix until Garcia proves himself again. That game Garcia pitched against the Lastros was horrible, and he continued downhill from there.

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