In what is a surprise to only the very most optimistic followers of the St. Louis Cardinals, the club announced on Friday that closer Jason Motte will undergo Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow this coming Monday.
The 30-year-old was injured during spring training in February, but the Cardinals prescribed rest in hopes Motte would be able to pitch. That proved to be a waste of time as the 12-month recovery timetable was delayed seven weeks.
Motte signed a two-year contract during the off-season and will be free agent eligible after the 2014 campaign. Edward Mujica has stepped in to replace him as closer.
Became a Cardinal
Selected in the 19th round (575th overall) of the June 2003 First-Year Player Draft.
Led the Cardinals with 20 holds. After 29 consecutive outings without having allowed an earned run, he assumed the closer's role for the final month of the regular season and playoffs.
Appeared in 56 games, converted 2-of-3 save opportunities, and finished 3rd among Cardinals relievers with 13 holds. Missed 26 days while on the DL from 8/4-30 with a right
shoulder sprain. Made two rehab appearances in Memphis. Did not allow a run in the 10 appearances following his return to St. Louis.
Came into the season as the closer, but after a opening day blown save, settled into a valuable middle relief role. His 69 appearances were the third-most by a Cardinals rookie reliever and his 20 holds led the team.
Motte made his major league debut in September, appearing in 12 games for the Cardinals posting a record of 0-0 with 1 save and an ERA of 0.82. Prior to his call up, Motte had recorded 110 strikeouts in just 66.2 Triple A innings. In his 12 games in majors, 11 innings, he struck out 16 batters, while walking only three.
Added to the 40-Man roster in November, the converted catcher split playing time between Palm Beach and Springfield, finishing the season with a combined record of 4-3 with a 1.98 ERA with 11 saves, appearing in 53 games. In the Arizona Fall League, Motte appeared in 11 games, pitched 12 innings and picked up two wins and a save.
Motte spent the first three years of his professional career and the first month of the 2006 season as a catcher. But after hitting a combined .190 while racking up 160 assists in 181 games as a backstop, he headed to extended spring training in early May in order to be converted into a pitcher.
In 2005, Motte went on the disabled list for High-A Palm Beach on June 29 with a right thumb fracture that would require surgery and cause him to miss the remainder of the season.
Last name is pronounced "MOT".
The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals Relief Pitcher of the Year: 2012
National League Player of the Week: 09/17-23/12
Scout.com Cardinals Top Prospect 2009: #7
Scout.com Cardinals MiLB Reliever of the Year: 2008
Scout.com Memphis Reliever of the Year: 2008
Cardinals MiLB Pitcher of the Month: July 2008
Scout.com Cardinals Top Prospects 2008: #22
Scout.com Cardinals AA Reliever of the Year: 2007