Even with Tommy John Surgery becoming more and more commonplace in Major League Baseball, there is still a defined timetable for an effective return and St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Jason Motte is at the very early end of that time period. Motte underwent Tommy John just 10 months ago, and now, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that Motte will likely miss Opening Day as a result of his recovery.
Here is the quote from Motte via Goold’s article:
“When guys come into camp, their first bullpen here has more intensity than mine have been this week because I’m not at that point yet,” Motte said. “You don’t want to push it because then you end up messing with your arm, your shoulder, other stuff because it’s not quite ready. I don’t want to push for April and have trouble when I could be ready later and pitch the whole season.”
To be fair, the Cardinals should have absolutely no interest in rushing Motte along, especially given their depth in the bullpen. The 31-year-old righty is making $6 million for the 2014 season, but youngster Trevor Rosenthal is penciled in as the team’s closer, and Motte will likely be used as a high-leverage setup man when he is ready to go.
From 2010 to 2012 (prior to his elbow trouble), Motte was an absolutely lights-out pitcher in every bullpen role. He posted three straight years with a sub-2.75 ERA and lofty strikeout totals (career 9.45 K/9), and in 2012, he saved 42 games for the always dangerous Cardinals. Motte’s right arm is a valuable asset for St. Louis and if they are smart (and they usually are), the Cards will take it slow here.