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Casey Kelly injury: Padres prospect undergoing tests on sore elbow

The young right-hander may be headed for Tommy John surgery.

Denis Poroy

The San Diego Padres have had a pretty terrible string of luck lately so far as pitcher injuries go, and things don't look to be getting better any time soon. Young right-hander Casey Kelly -- rated as the No. 45 prospect in the game by Baseball America -- has been shut down for the last week with a sore elbow and is undergoing tests to determine the extent of his injury, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com.

While the club has remained mum on the initial test results, manager Bud Black's statement on the matter to Brock seems to indicate that the Padres may be preparing for the worst:

While Black doesn't explicitly allude to Tommy John surgery in the statement, the trifecta of concern, talking with family, and a second opinion definitely does not indicate that Kelly got good news during his visit to the doctor.

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One of the big pieces in the 2010 Adrian Gonzalez trade, Kelly was expected to be fighting for a spot in the Padres' rotation this spring. Instead, he may be forced to sit on the sideline with San Diego's two other Tommy John rehabbers: Cory Luebke and Joe Wieland.

Kelly, 23, experienced some elbow woes early last season and was shut down for five months to avoid further damage. The right-hander returned to action and made eight starts in the minors -- posting a 3.35 ERA and 9.3 K/9 rate -- before getting the call to San Diego in late August.

Kelly struggled in his first big-league stint, posting a 6.21 ERA across six starts, but still showed a lot of promise. If the right-hander does indeed need Tommy John, the surgery -- if done soon -- would likely sideline him until around Opening Day next year.

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