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Joe Kelly (hamstring) is expected to join the Cardinals on this road trip. Kelly has been playing loss toss and testing his leg with some light running. His next step would be to start throwing off the mound again.

Kelly has been sidelined the last two weeks following a hamstring injury but is inching closer to a return to the Cardinals starting rotation. Once healthy he will take over for Tyler Lyons, who has been a respectable replacement in his absence (0-2 w/ 4.50 ERA). Kelly will look to build off of his strong start in which he went 1-1 with a 0.59 ERA and 1.24 WHIP through three starts prior to going down with a hamstring injury.He is expected back at some point in the month of May. ANALYST: Matthew Beck

Gerrit Cole worked 6 2/3 innings in Tuesday’s 5-4 win over the Tigers, giving up two runs on nine hits while striking out six.

Bouncing back from easily his weakest effort of the season this past Wednesday versus the Reds, Cole navigated through the Tigers offense Tuesday night and was in line for the win until the Pirates bullpen squandered a 4-2 advantage in the bottom of the eighth. The young righty has given up north of three runs in just 1-of-16 starts this year and sports a strong 9.5 K/9 across 102 1/3 innings. Cole will climb back atop the hill Sunday afternoon against the Indians. Analysis: Nate Miller

Justin Verlander tossed six innings in Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to the Pirates, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits and five walks while striking out three.

Following a rough outing at Yankee Stadium a couple of weeks back then an 11-day absence due to back stiffness, Verlander gave the Tigers an encouraging effort Tuesday night. He did walk five batters, but the veteran righty was able to bear down and manage most of the Pirates threats throughout his six innings. Verlander is slated to be back on the bump Sunday afternoon versus the Blue Jays. Analysis: Nate Miller

J.D. Martinez went 3-for-6 with a two-run homer and a couple of runs scored during Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to the Pirates.

Martinez is on a roaring power tear for the Tigers right now. The 27-year-old slugger has now gone 10-for-31 with a whopping seven roundtrippers, 13 RBI and nine runs scored over his last seven games. Analysis: Nate Miller

The Utah Jazz are in talks to bring Tibor Pleiss over from Germany.

The Thunder drafted Pleiss with the 31st pick of the 2010 draft and sent his NBA rights to the Jazz as part of the Enes Kanter trade. Pleiss and rookie Trey Lyles would back up Rudy Gobert in Utah. Neither is likely to have much fantasy value next season. Analysis: Steve Pimental

The Wizards consider free agent forward Paul Pierce their top priority.

Wizards officials were reportedly encouraged by their conversation with Paul Pierce Tuesday night. Pierce was as clutch as it gets in the playoffs though they could replace him with rookie Kelly Oubre if Pierce signs elsewhere. Analysis: Steve Pimental

Marco Estrada lasted just 2 1/3 innings during Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Red Sox, giving up four runs (two earned) on three hits and four walks while striking out just one.

Coming off of back-to-back brilliant performances that saw him allow just one run on three hits and four walks while piling up 16 punchouts across 15 2/3 combined innings, Estrada just simply did not even appear to be the same guy Tuesday night. The 31-year-old righty found the zone with just 42-of-73 pitches and even walked in two runs. Estrada will head back to the drawing board in preparation for Sunday afternoons start at Detroit.  Analysis: Nate Miller

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