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MLB San Diego Padres

San Diego Padres’ Top Pitching Prospect Has Yet Another Injury Setback

 

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Padres right-hander Casey Kelly, who missed most of the 2012 season with elbow issues, has had yet another setback, and will be lost for the entire 2013 season.

Kelly, who is considered to be the Padres top pitching prospect, heard the names that many athletes cringe upon hearing–Dr. James Andrews and Tommy John surgery. Dr. Andrews will perform the Kelly’s elbow ligament replacement surgery on April 2, thereby pretty much ending his season.

Kelly spend much of 2012 on the disabled list with continued elbow inflammation, and he was shut down at the end of the season when the problem became chronic. It was hoped that the off-season rest and some physical therapy would fix the issue, but Kelly’s elbow started hurting as soon as he began throwing this spring.

An MRI of the elbow revealed some micro-tears in the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) which would require surgery to repair.

This is a huge blow to the Padres, as they were going to count on Kelly to make his way into the starting rotation this season. The Padres starters ranked 22nd in quality starts and 22nd in ERA last season, so bolstering the starting rotation was one of the focal points for manager Bud Black.

Outside of Eric Stults, the Padres don’t have any starters in their current depth chart that had a won-loss record over .500 in 2012, while Edinson Volquez and Clayton Richard both finished right at the .500 mark.

With the loss of Kelly, look for the Padres to become active in seeking some starting pitching help early in the season now.

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Michael Collins is a Rant Sports Senior Writer, and Atlanta sports columnist. Follow him @GaSportsCraze on Twitter and here on Facebook