D-backs’ Carson Kelly, Joe Mantiply nearing rehab assignments

May 29, 2023, 7:36 PM

Carson Kelly #18 of the Arizona Diamondbacks stands at second after a fielders choice during the th...

Carson Kelly #18 of the Arizona Diamondbacks stands at second after a fielders choice during the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on July 29, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly took a big step in his injury rehab on Monday at extended spring training.

Kelly was scheduled to catch five innings, getting behind the plate for the first time in a game environment since he suffered a forearm fracture in spring training.

Manager Torey Lovullo explained that Kelly had previously caught bullpens and simulation games, noting that his progress means a rehab assignment appears to be near.

“He’s very close to going to an affiliate,” Lovullo said on Monday. “After he catches and then after the live (at-bats) tomorrow … if it all goes as planned, then I think probably in three days he could be off to an affiliate.”

Kelly entered Monday with 15 at-bats under his belt at extended spring training. He is set to face D-backs LHP Joe Mantiply in live at-bats on Tuesday.

The D-backs transferred Kelly to the 60-day injured list on May 20 after he was initially placed on the 10-day IL.

Lovullo credited Kelly’s communication throughout his rehab process, showing up to Chase Field when given the chance to give personal updates.

“Carson is so good because he comes by my office every time he comes into town and tells me exactly how he’s feeling,” Lovullo said.

“He said the first day he threw a baseball, he felt like his hand was gonna fly off his arm. And then the next day he’s like, ‘I feel a little bit better.’ So he just gives you a really good descriptive explanation as to what’s happening.”

Lovullo said he has not thought about what playing time would look like for Arizona’s catchers once Kelly got back.

Gabriel Moreno has held down the fort with Jose Herrera as the backup over the first 54 games.

As for Mantiply, on the 15-day IL with a right hamstring strain, Lovullo said he could be off to a minor league rehab assignment this week, as well.

“Mantiply will throw tomorrow in that live at-bat session setting, and then once we get through that with Joe, we will most likely send him out to an affiliate,” Lovullo said. “But let’s check that box tomorrow.”

Mantiply has a 2.35 ERA in eight appearances this year.

Lovullo also gave an update on outfielder Kyle Lewis (illness), who is on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno. He blasted two home runs over 400 feet on Sunday and has three homers and a double in five games with the Aces.

“He’s pushing in the right direction, the bat has been consistent,” Lovullo said. “It’s a matter of him building endurance, and my discussions have kind of lived in that area. Build that endurance, continue to gather strength, which he’s showing.”

Lewis played six games for Arizona at the start of the year before going on the IL, notably blasting a go-ahead home run at Dodger Stadium in the D-backs’ first win of 2023.

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D-backs’ Carson Kelly, Joe Mantiply nearing rehab assignments