Kelly playing catch in return from TJ surgery
No. 3 prospect throwing at 60 feet less than six months since procedure
SAN DIEGO -- It was just playing catch, but every time that Casey Kelly throws a baseball, he considers it to be a very good thing.
"I'm not sure I can tell you when I made my [Major League] debut," Kelly said. "But I know when I had my surgery."
Kelly, considered the No. 3 Padres prospect by MLB.com, is working his way back slowly from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on April 2.
Kelly was in the Petco Park outfield four hours before game time on Friday, playing catch. He said that he's been doing so for the last month and has recently done so from 60 feet.
"I'm feeling really good ... it's been slow and steady," Kelly said. "I'm slowly moving my way up."
Kelly is aware of the 12-to-18 month recovery time for pitchers who have reconstructive elbow surgery -- and knows that while the surgery is relatively similar, the recovery time differs from patient to patient.
Take Padres left-handed pitcher Cory Luebke, who had surgery in May 2012. Luebke has had several setbacks and is currently in Cincinnati for a second opinion on his elbow. While some players are able to return closer to 12 months, some take 18 months or more.
For now, Kelly will follow the prescribed path of rehabilitation: work hard, and, really, hope for the best.
"Once you get surgery, you know there's another side to it," Kelly said. "For me ... I trust the rehab 100 percent. It's status quo. You try and not think too far ahead."
Kotsay enters final 10 days of 17-year career
SAN DIEGO -- Mark Kotsay, who announced recently that he'll retire at the end of the season, is ready to embark on the final 10 days of his long Major League career.
"It is closure to a journey that I've loved," he said Friday.
Kotsay, who will retire after 17 seasons in the big leagues, has already started thinking about life after playing baseball -- and a potential career in the game.
"Baseball is what I know, it's what I love to do," Kotsay said. "As far as staying with the organization, it's something, moving forward, I'll definitely pursue.
"But at this time, with 10 days left, I haven't thought about what I want to be in the next five years, 10 years. But I definitely want to get my feet wet."
For now, the focus will remain on baseball, these final 10 games of the season, seven of which will be played at Petco Park, beginning Friday night against the Dodgers.
Kotsay entered Friday's game hitting .193 this season in 159 plate appearances. For his career, one that has seen him play for seven different teams, he has a .276/.332/.405 line.
Kotsay was drafted by the Marlins with the ninth-overall pick in 1996 and made his Major League debut the following season at 21. He played three seasons for the Padres from 2001-03 and spent the rest of his career trying to get back to San Diego.
The team signed him before the 2012 season and gave him a one-year contract extension last season.
"I just want to say thank you to the Padres organization for being able to end my career here," Kotsay told reporters. "It's a great place to be. It's been a great journey for 17 seasons."
• Third baseman Chase Headley has had success at the plate this month, hitting .286 in the first 14 games of the month with five home runs. His highest average in any month this season? .271 in July.
"He's swinging at strikes, taking balls," said Padres manager Bud Black. "He's doing the things he's been good at, working at-bats, seeing pitches, getting on base. His bat speed has improved a little."
• Second baseman Jedd Gyorko enjoyed the team's recently completed four-game trip to Pittsburgh -- and not just because the Padres won three of the four games. Gyorko was reunited with scores of his friends and family who made the drive from nearby Morgantown, W.Va.
"It was good … I was able to see all of them at the field, so it's not like I had to entertain them," Gyorko said. "I made the rounds to tell everyone how appreciative I was they made it. There were some people there I hadn't seen since I was a little kid. It was like a family reunion."
Gyorko was 6-for-14 with a home run and four RBIs in the series.