MILWAUKEE, WI - JULY 17: Joe Kelly #58 of the St Louis Cardinals pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers during the game at Miller Park on July 17, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) By Mike McGinnis
(BaseballStL) -- Joe Kelly also heads to the hill once more on Tuesday. He's about as interesting as a prospect as the Cards have here in camp. Always blessed with a tremendous arm, Kelly surprised many in 2012 when he burst onto the scene in place of an injured Jaime Garcia and came through with a 3.53 ERA in the regular season and a 2.35 ERA in the postseason. Kelly was an under the radar prospect in the system due in large part because of so many other high profile guys such as Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez. But it was Kelly who got to the big leagues first and it's Kelly who comes into 2013 as the most experienced and proven - albeit not very much - option.
But it is days like today that will play a part in the evaluation process for who is going to get Chris Carpenter's spot in the starting rotation. Just because Kelly comes into this spring training as the most experienced option of the three (Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal as the others) that doesn't mean he's guaranteed anything. In fact, he's guaranteed nothing. He'll need to show, especially in settings like today, that he's hungry for that spot and he's better than the other two. Games will be the biggest test, no doubt. So it's not like today is the end-all for Kelly's bid to be a starter. But he certainly is being evaluated every single day this spring as the team closes in on a decision late next month.