After injuring his elbow during Spring Training, San Diego Padres pitcher Casey Kelly underwent reconstructive surgery on his right elbow, or “Tommy John” surgery, to correct his injury. The surgery was performed in Pensacola, Florida, by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
Andrews has indicated to team managers that the surgery was a complete success, and that Kelly will be flying to San Diego shortly for evaluation by the team’s doctors, and for a consultation about rehabilitation.
Kelly, 23, is ranked as the Padres’ number 4 prospect by MLB.com. He made his MLB debut last season for the Padres, going 2-3 with a 6.21 ERA in six starts. When Kelly began the 2012 season, he was at Triple-A Tucson, then immediately missed out on three months with a right elbow strain. After recuperating fully, he headed on to the Major Leagues.
During this recent round of Spring Training, Kelly made it through three games in the camp before experiencing discomfort in his right elbow once more. Extensive testing revealed that the young pitcher had a series of “micro tears” in his ulnar collateral ligament. Surgery was required and imminent. In those three games he had a 7.71 ERA and 5 1/3 innings.
In short, the promising career of Kelly has been benched for the 2013 season. The only thing for Kelly to do at this point is strengthen, rehabilitate and watch the rest of the pitching staff make up for his absence. Like his elbow injury during the very beginning of his MLB career, this is only a minor setback. With proper recuperation and rehabilitation, the Padres can finally see some of that famous Kelly fastball in 2014.