Following a rehab assignment that has spanned roughly two weeks, six games, and 6.2 innings with two different minor league clubs, St. Louis Cardinals reliever Jason Motte could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Sunday. The 31-year-old former closer, who is recovering from May 2013 Tommy John surgery, is spending the weekend in St. Louis and will be monitored by the Cardinals over the next 24 hours to determine if he is fully ready to return to pitching in the majors.
Though Motte hasn’t fully recovered his fastball velocity, which consistently came near 100 MPH prior to his surgery, his previous major-league track record and successful rehab assignment, which saw him give up only three hits and no runs over 6.2 innings, indicate that he should be a stabilizing force in the Cards’ bullpen. His presence will be very useful, as the bullpen has been one of the weakest parts of the team so far in 2014.
Obviously, the Cardinals would like to have more experienced options than some of the young pitchers they have in the bullpen right now, including Jorge Rondon, who has had two stints with the big-league club but still has yet to throw a pitch, and Sam Freeman, who was successful in 2013 but has only made one appearance this year after being recalled earlier this week.
Furthermore, the Cards’ more established relievers haven’t been too great either. Righty Seth Maness has been very good in May but was extremely inconsistent in April. Lefthander Kevin Siegrist, who statistically had one of the greatest seasons in the history of baseball during 2013, has been shaky throughout the year and now has a 4.00 ERA. Lefty Randy Choate and right-hander Carlos Martinez, who were supposed to the club’s two most trusted middle relief options, have both been awful in May, having given up eight and five runs, respectively. Even closer Trevor Rosenthal, despite having converted on all but one of his save opportunities, has some shaky numbers on paper, possessing a 4.50 ERA with 12 walks in 20 innings.
Obviously, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which Motte would be a downgrade from the current relief options. If nothing else, having Motte’s lightheartedness and veteran leadership back in the clubhouse on an everyday basis should be uplifting for a young team that is struggling a bit, but more likely that not he should also provide a stabilizing force on the mound.
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