Kelly Another Key Part of Australian Contingent

The Phillies have spent a lot of time and money searching for talent in Australia. Their program is definitely paying off and Mark Kelly is one of those young players that the Phillies believe will turn into a strong prospect before too long.

For a 19 year old kid who is far away from home, Mark Kelly has more poise than you might expect. He's simply doing a job and doesn't seem to be fazed by much that's going on around him. Add to that the fact that he's only been pitching for a few years and his development is even more interesting. "I've been playing baseball since I was 11 years old, but I've only been pitching for the past few years. I played at the baseball academy in Australia but was already with the phillies when I played there," explained Kelly in his thick Australian accent.

Kelly has been quick to discover one big difference between life in Clearwater, Florida and life in his home of Perth, Australia. "Austraila is a lot less crowded and easy going but other wise not a lot too different," said Kelly. "At least the food is pretty much the same." Kelly's baseball life is much different than when he was in Australia too. The schedule is much tougher than when he was at home. "You play every day over here, and you train everyday over here. We only train or play a couple of days a week," remarked Kelly. "Back home baseball is a social thing, less of an everyday job."

On Tuesday, Kelly had his first experience with struggling in the pro ranks. In 1/3 of an inning, he was touched for two hits and a walk, but was able to exit the game without giving up an earned run, to keep his season ERA at 0.00. By Friday, he bounced back and did give up a couple of hits, but had better control and picked up his second win of the season. "I've been doing pretty good. Up until Tuesday, I was doing really well," said Kelly about his first shot at pro ball.

Earlier this season, Kelly was on the DL to battle a sore shoulder. "I rested it for a while, but now it's okay. My velocity is getting back up to where it was," said Kelly of the previous problems. Now that he's healthy, Kelly is just looking to do well and move along through the ranks. At 19, there is time for him to develop and the Phillies will likely be pretty cautious with his development, considering how they generally handle young talent.

After the season, Kelly will get to visit with his brother, who is going to college in Nebraska. Then, he'll head home to Australia. "My parents want to come over next year if I'm still with the Phillies," said Kelly. Odds are that his parents will be booking flights to Clearwater come next season.

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