Casey Kelly turned in another strong effort on his road back to San Diego, striking out six over six scoreless innings in his fourth rehab start as Double-A San Antonio blanked Frisco, 4-0, on Monday afternoon.
Kellly (1-0), recovering from Tommy John surgery, limited the RoughRiders to four hits and did not walk a batter in his second Texas League start of his comeback. He hit a batter and threw a wild pitch but otherwise looked sharp, throwing 56 of his 71 pitches for strikes.
In his previous start, the right-hander limited Corpus Christi to three runs -- one earned -- on seven hits over six frames May 14 after allowing four runs over two previous rehab starts for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore on May 3-8.
The 24-year-old used an inning-ending double-play in the first to erase Trever Adams' one-out single before working a 1-2-3 frame in the second and striking out two in a perfect third. Frisco managed to get two runners in scoring position in the fourth thanks to a pair of singles and a throwing error by shortstop Brian Bixler, but Kelly got Ryan Rua to ground out to third to escape the threat. He settled down in the fifth after starting the frame by beaning Odubel Herrera and throwing a wild pitch at Teodoro Martinez before working around a one-out single by Adams in the sixth for his first Texas League win.
Frank Garces and Adys Portillo combined on the final three innings to seal up the win. Casey McElroy slugged his second homer of the season in the fourth for San Antonio. Top Padres prospect Austin Hedges and pinch-hitter Lee Orro also drove home runs.
Kelly, San Diego's No. 4 prospect, underwent reconstructive elbow surgery on April 2, 2013, and missed the entire season after making his Major League debut with the Padres in 2012, when he went 2-3 with a 6.21 ERA in six starts.
Casey Kelly is 1-0 with a 2.21 ERA in 20 1/3 rehab innings for Lake Elsinore and San Antonio. (Shawn E. Davis/MiLB.com)
Kelly, who now owns a 2.21 ERA in 20 1/3 rehab innings this year, could be a candidate to get called up later this month to help an ailing San Diego staff that also has Joe Wieland, Josh Johnson, Cory Luebke and Andrew Cashner on the DL. It's unclear when, exactly, he may be ready -- MLB.com's Corey Brock said on May 17 that Kelly would not be summoned "anytime soon" to replace Cashner in the rotation.
"The elbow feels great," Kelly told MLB.com on May 9. "I think the big thing for me is just getting used to being in a game situation again."