Kelly still slowed by strained left hamstring

Kelly still slowed by strained left hamstring

ST. LOUIS -- Nearly four weeks removed from straining his left hamstring on a sprint to first base, Joe Kelly remains slowed by the injury and uncertain just how long the recovery will be before he is cleared to pitch again.

Kelly took more than a week off from throwing after his hamstring reacted negatively to his trying to get back on the mound on May 2. He resumed playing catch Monday -- lobbing balls from 130-140 feet, he estimated -- but that has been as much clearance as Kelly has been given.

He is not running, nor does he have a target date for returning to the mound.

"I've never had this problem in my life, so I don't know how to deal with it," Kelly said. "I put all my trust in [the medical staff]. When they think I'm ready to go and I think I'm ready to go, just go out there and pitch. It's something you don't want to re-injure and be out the rest of the year, because they're really painful and nagging. It is kind of frustrating when you're not with the team, watching every game on TV and wishing you could help them win. Right now, I'm just trying to get healthy and get out there."

Getting back onto a mound is just the next step for Kelly, who will also have to eventually go out on a Minor League rehab assignment to build back arm strength. Tyler Lyons, who started on Monday, remains the Cardinals' current stopgap in what was Kelly's rotation spot. It could be a spot that Jaime Garcia soon takes after he wraps up his current Minor League rehab assignment.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.