Kelly not concerned about stamina in spot start

Kelly not concerned about stamina in spot start

ST. LOUIS -- Joe Kelly is set to make his first start of the season Wednesday against Arizona as a fill-in for Shelby Miller, who was pushed back to Thursday after pitching Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader.

Though Kelly started 16 games last season -- tallying a 5-7 record and a 3.53 ERA -- the right-hander has only pitched in relief this year. But Kelly isn't concerned about stretching out to a starter's workload.

"I don't know if I'm that kind of guy where I need to be built up," Kelly said. "If they ask for 80 pitches, I'll be able to give them 80 pitches."

Kelly has a 6.75 ERA this season, allowing 14 earned runs through 18 2/3 innings. He has pitched more than one inning just five times this year, with his longest outing coming on May 25 in Los Angeles. He threw a season-high 62 pitches in three-plus innings of relief against the Dodgers.

"I'm just gonna try to go out there and get early outs and be efficient and sufficient for these guys," Kelly said. "Especially if we're going to be down one in the bullpen, I'll try to go as many as I can."

Kelly hasn't pitched since May 30, when he threw just eight pitches in one scoreless inning. Kelly was inserted into the rotation last season as a fill-in starter for Jaime Garcia but was into the bullpen when Garcia came off the disabled list and has remained there since.

"He's done a nice job the last couple times out," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "Been able to keep him from getting too much work. He's ready to go and he's shown that he can handle it."

Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.