PHOENIX -- Padres manager Bud Black understands your excitement.
The former big league pitcher knows Monday is a big day for the organization and for Padres fans everywhere but he asks you to remain patient.
Yes, Casey Kelly, the No. 1 prospect in the organization will make his big league debut when he takes the hill for the Padres against the Braves in San Diego, but the manager wants you to remember that this is Kelly's first start, not his last.
Kelly is replacing injured starter Jason Marquis in the rotation. The club is expected to make a corresponding move to make room for Kelly on the roster.
"There are Major League debuts across the landscape of our game, almost daily sometimes," Black said. "With Casey, it's a little different. He's more of a higher profile guy but I don't want to put too much weight on tomorrow's game just because it's unfair for a lot of reasons. We saw it here in Arizona when Trevor Bauer made his debut. It's one game."
It's been quite a journey for Kelly and it's hard to blame the fan base for feeling anxious. The one-time shortstop prospect was acquired with Anthony Rizzo by the Padres as part of the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez to Boston before the start of last season. Kelly went 11-6 with a 3.98 ERA at Double-A San Antonio in his first season in the San Diego organization last year.
He made two starts with Tucson in April and had a 2.25 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 12 innings to start the 2012 campaign, but was sidelined in April by a strained right elbow injury.
Kelly worked through a lengthy rehab stint that included starts for the club's Arizona Rookie League team and for San Antonio.
Kelly is 0-2 with a 3.78 ERA in three starts for the Missions, pitching five innings twice and 6 1/3 in his last start. He threw 83 pitches in his last outing for San Antonio.
"It's much anticipated and Casey is ready," Black said. "He's been in our environment before. He was up September but not activated and he's been around a couple of years in Spring Training so he knows the guys. He's looking forward to it, as are we."