Joe Kelly remains question mark as condition improves but progre -

Joe Kelly remains question mark as condition improves but progress slow

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

(BaseballStL) -- Joe Kelly’s long rehab from a hamstring pull suffered last month in Milwaukee continues slowly as the right hander says he’s feeling better and throwing off flat ground.

But there is no timetable for the talented pitcher’s return.

“I can throw off level ground but it occasionally feels a little tight,” he said Tuesday. “But it doesn’t hurt. I’ve continued to do stretching exercises and strength training, taking therapy and just doing what they tell me to do. I don’t know when they’ll have me throw off the mound or when I’ll be back.”

When he does return, the Cardinals will face a tough decision. With Jaime Garcia’s return to the starting rotation, how the Redbirds will use Kelly remains unclear. He was off to an incredible start before his injury, with an ERA of .59 in 15 innings. His career ERA is just 2.92 in appearances split between starting and relieving.

“He’s still in the healing phase,” Cardinal skipper Mike Matheny said before Tuesday’s game against the New York Yankees. 

“You don’t see him out here doing too much except playing some catch. Sounds like his arm has been able to stay strong. He’s still doing all the workouts he used to do. It’s going as expected which is - we don’t know. When it comes to hamstrings, you push it a little and wait to see how it responds.”

Kelly said there has been no discussion about what happens when he returns. “They haven’t said anything to me yet,” he said. “I’m not worried about it. I’ll do whatever they say.”

Although he is eligible to come off the disabled list on June 8, it is doubtful he would return that fast, given where his recovery is now. And because of the length of time he will have missed when he does return it is likely the Cardinals will send him out for at least some rehabilitation work in the minors.

“We’ll deal with that situation when that time comes,” Matheny said. “It’s hard to imagine what the role is going forward. We have a long way to go before we get to that.”

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