The St. Louis Cardinals liked what they saw from Jaime Garcia in his four rehab starts following a long layoff caused by shoulder discomfort, but Joe Kelly's 12 impressive turns in their rotation might have earned the bespectacled rookie a permanent role on the club after all—as designated bullpen savior.
Kelly, a college closer, will move into the bullpen immediately upon Jaime Garcia's return to the rotation on Sunday. At that point the Cardinals will have thrown their fourth hard-throwing right-handed prospect into their back-of-the-bullpen black hole; here's hoping he's more successful than Eduardo Sanchez and Maikel Cleto and steadier than Trevor Rosenthal, whom he's likely to push back to AAA Memphis for a few more starts.
Kelly's repertoire is stereotypical Duncan-ball starter stuff—a sinker and a bunch of junky breaking pitches—but few were counting on his fastball to stick so doggedly to the mid-90s label every other prospect gets now. In the bullpen, that stuff might suddenly prove up to getting the swings and misses that have kept him from being a top prospect as a starter.
Count on this, though: Whatever he does, we're about to have a long argument in the offseason about whether he belongs in the rotation or the bullpen. Just in case you were missing that particular Lance Lynn argument.