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Joe Kelly Promoted To St. Louis Cardinals Rotation; Jaime Garcia Seeks Multiple Medical Opinions

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March 9, 2011; Ft. Myers, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly (74) during the bottom of the fifth inning of a spring training game against the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
March 9, 2011; Ft. Myers, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly (74) during the bottom of the fifth inning of a spring training game against the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

The St. Louis Cardinals announced this afternoon that right-handed starter Joe Kelly will be promoted from Triple A Memphis to take the rotation spot of Jaime Garcia as plans were announced for the left-hander to seek multiple medical opinions on his various injuries.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that, in the wake of being placed on the 15-day disabled list following a woeful start in Houston, no firm diagnosis has been made and that the southpaw will head south and then west for a second and third opinions from some of the top names in sports medicine.

Garcia will consult with Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Lewis Yocum this weekend. Both were recommended by Cardinals medical supervisor Dr. George Paletta, who examined Garcia on Wednesday in St. Louis.

The club has since described Garcia as suffering from a shoulder strain, a description that could encompass a variety of issues. Garcia underwent a magnetic resonance imaging of his left elbow after leaving the club in Atlanta last month and subsequently informed team trainers that although he was not experiencing pain in the shoulder he thought something wrong.

With this ominous turn-of-events, the Cardinals have taken what appears to be a long-term approach to replacing Garcia in the rotation. They have elected to promote Triple A starter Joe Kelly from Memphis. Listed at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Kelly is known for a power sinker that induces many grounders. Kelly has moved quickly through the system since being drafted in 2009.

Here is a look at his career minor-league stats:

The 24-year-old Kelly will make his big-league debut on Sunday against the Indians at Busch Stadium. How many starts he makes for the Cardinals after that will be dependent on his performance, the health of Chris Carpenter, and the health of Jaime Garcia.

The Cardinals have not announced how the organization will make room for Kelly on the 40- or 25-man rosters.