The Cardinals have given Class AAA starter Joe Kelly a heckuva 25th birthday present.
Kelly will be called up today to replace Jaime Garcia in the starting rotation upon the announcement the the St. Louis lefty has been told he can't pitch for at least four weeks because of shoulder stiffness.
Kelly is only 2-5 this season at Memphis. But he's got a 2.86 ERA and has allowed with 75 hits allowed in 72 1/3 innings. He's struck out 45 and walked 21.
A third round draft choice in 2009, Kelly is 6-foot-1 and weighs 185 pounds. Despite his small size he has a 98 MPH fastball which he relies on heavily.
According to scouting reports, Kelly doesn't have a reliable secondary pitch -- although he is working on a slider -- and he's generally unrefined as a pitcher. But the natural sinking action on his heater helps him get batters out with ground balls.
To make room for Kelly on the 40-man roster, the Cardinals released reliever Scott Linebrink. Signed to replace the "veteran presence" lost when Octavio Dotel was allowed to leave as a free agent, Linebrink announced his shoulder hurt almost immediately after the Redbirds picked up his contract for the season.
After the Cardinals' Friday night loss to Cleveland, St. Louis GM John Mozeliak said on KMOX radio that the club was growing frustrated with Linebrink's lack of progress in recovery.