Padres’ Kelly to undergo Tommy John surgery

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — San Diego Padres right-hander Casey Kelly will have Tommy John surgery on his pitching arm the first week of April.

Padres general manager Josh Byrnes confirmed the plan Friday morning. Kelly is expected to miss 12 to 18 months rehabbing after the procedure.

Kelly said Monday that doctors found small tears in his right ulnar collateral ligament. He was having pain during a March 7 spring outing, which prompted a closer examination the following week.

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s something that has to happen,” Kelly said. “I’m

just looking forward to putting this injury behind me and coming back

strong in 2014.”

Kelly was shut down due to elbow pain twice during the 2012 season. He was 2-3 with a 6.21 ERA in six starts last year and was a candidate in spring training for this season’s starting rotation.

The 23-year-old Kelly, a first-round pick in 2008, is considered one of the top prospects in the Padres’ organization.