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Kelley throws in simulated game, nears return

Padres reliever could play as soon as Tuesday

DENVER -- Shawn Kelley, one of the Padres most dependable relievers this season, threw 20 pitches Friday in a simulated game at Coors Field before the start of a three-game series against the Rockies.

Kelley, who hasn't pitched in a game since Sept. 1 because of tightness in his right forearm, could appear in a game as soon as Tuesday, when the team returns home to face the Giants at Petco Park.

Kelley threw to his own hitters Friday and came away from it healthy and happy.

"Honestly, it wasn't even about health for me. It was about seeing some hitters," Kelley said of his outing on Friday. "… It's been two weeks since I've pitched in a game. I wanted to throw some fastballs, spin some sliders at full speed with the batter in the box, get my feel back after not seeing a hitter for a couple of weeks."

Kelley, who handled high-leverage situations late in games, had a 2.72 ERA at the time he was injured, including a 1.38 ERA since June 1 with 38 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings.

Without Kelley, the Padres' bullpen has had a 6.35 ERA since Sept. 2. The bullpen has also missed Brandon Maurer during that stretch. Maurer has been stuck on the disabled list since Aug. 10 with right-shoulder inflammation.

Kelley, who will be a free agent after the season, is itching to get back into a game.

"It's always good to finish the season pitching with some good outings and feel confident going into the offseason and that will help for teams that are interested in me," Kelley said. "It was a major point for me to make sure I got back. It looks like I'll be able to do that and maybe throw in five or six games."

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
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