According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, Motte underwent an MRI on Tuesday that showed a tear in his ailing elbow ligament. He could have to undergo Tommy John surgery:
Jason Motte's MRI shows tear to ligament. #STLCards will give him until May 1 to show improvement; if none, then likely Tommy John surgery.— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) April 10, 2013
General manager John Mozeliak confirmed the news, according to Rob Rains of StLSportsPage.com:
Cards GM John Mozeliak says MRI found ligament tear in Motte's elbow. Team will re-evaluate injury on May 1, at which time surgery possible.— Rob Rains (@RobRains) April 10, 2013
If Motte has to undergo Tommy John surgery, his season will obviously be over before it began. The 30-year-old closer has been on the disabled list since the beginning of the season after suffering an elbow strain in spring training. He was sent to Dr. George Paletta for a follow-up MRI on the injury Tuesday, with the hopes of receiving the green light to return to his spot in the Cardinals bullpen.
Heading into his sixth major league season, Motte broke out in 2012. He tied for the National League lead in saves with 42, had a 2.75 ERA and helped key St. Louis’ run to the NLCS. That run helped Motte land a two-year contract in the offseason, which kept both him and the Cardinals out of salary arbitration.
With Motte’s status up in the air, the Cardinals will likely continue using Mitchell Boggs in the closer role for now.
Boggs, the setup man a year ago, has gotten off to a rocky start as a closer. He has recorded one save on the season but took a disastrous loss Monday in which he gave up seven runs (six earned) in just 0.1 innings against the Reds.
Without an improvement from Motte, it’s very possible that the Cardinals could hit the trade market looking for an experienced closer. Boggs hasn’t looked the part thus far, and the man who performed so brilliantly in 2012 may be on the precipice of a season-ending surgery.