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Cardinals closer Jason Motte needs Tommy John surgery

May 3, 2013, 5:50 PM EDT

Jason Motte AP

Jason Motte gave his elbow injury some time to see if he could avoid going under the knife, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals closer will have Tommy John surgery.

That means Motte will miss the remainder of this season and will likely be out for at least the beginning of next season as well, when he’s under contract for $7 million.

Mitchell Boggs struggled attempting to replace Motte in the ninth inning, but Edward Mujica has grabbed hold of the closer role and the Cardinals have Trevor Rosenthal and now fellow rookie Carlos Martinez as hard-throwing setup men.

Motte saved a league-leading 42 games last season in his first year as a full-time closer at age 30, posting a 2.75 ERA and 86/17 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. He was shut down in mid-March and an MRI exam two weeks later revealed a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

  1. sumerduckman - May 3, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    What would these guys do if that surgical procedure did not exist?

    It seems like a fair number of the pitchers these days have undergone this surgery. Where would MLB be without it?

    Lots of soft tossers? Is this not ‘ performance enhancing’?

    • 700lb - May 3, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      Yeah dude, they totally put robot tendons in these guys when they do the surgery.

      • paperlions - May 3, 2013 at 7:15 PM

        Completely missing the point. They take a ligament out one part of the body and use it to replace the naturally occurring one. In effect, using a 100% unnatural process to allow players to do something they could not otherwise continue to do.

        Of course it is performance enhancing, just like lasic surgery, pain killers and anything else that is arbitrarily considered “legal”.

      • bla bla bla - May 4, 2013 at 7:13 AM


        TJ surgery isn’t done electively, it’s done to repair serious injury. As far as being a performance enhancer goes, I’m sorry, but that’s just ridiculous.

        Can you think of anyone that had TJ surgery and became a better pitcher? Not better than they were with the injury, but better than they were before the injury. I can’t, but I don’t follow pitchers nearly as closely as some fans do.

      • paperlions - May 4, 2013 at 11:13 AM

        Yes, every pitcher that has every had TJ surgery was a better pitcher after the surgery than he was before it….because before it, his UCL was badly or completely torn.

        Eye glasses/contacts/lasic surgery are all performance enhancing.

        Ibuprofen (and any pain killer or anti-inflamatory) is performance enhancing.

        Any stimulant is performance enhancing.

        So what?

  2. neoshweaty - May 3, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Serious question: When has rehabbing actually prevented TJ? It seems like we have Mott here having surgery and there’s also Billingsley and Furcal who tried rehab but needed TJ anyway. Maybe I’m not remembering some big example of a guy avoiding TJ but it seems like more often than not it’s unavoidable.

    • okwhitefalcon - May 3, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      Ozzie Smith chose not to, worked around it for years.

      He’ s the only guy I can think of that took that route and maintained any level of success, no idea about anyone else.

      As for Motte, we knew this was coming at some point sooner than later – I don’t think it was going to ever reach Furcal level bafoonery.

      • carbydrash - May 4, 2013 at 7:58 PM

        Also Albert Pujols, no?

        I recall for years they thought he would need Tommy John and he never has.

  3. randygnyc - May 3, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    I remember when I first saw this guy pitch thinking that his delivery was incredibly violent. Too violent, and that this could be n his future. Too bad. Seemed like a likable guy compared to most adrenalin drenched closers.

  4. westcoastredbird - May 4, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    I wouldn’t be Cardinal baseball without drama in the bullpen. It looks like Mujica is solid, Carp is going to try another comeback, and they just brought up “Kid Electric” from Springfield to go along with Rosenthal. I’m excited. And Wacha is just one injury away from being a starter at the show.

  5. turdfurgerson68 - May 4, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    Cardinals closer Jason Motte needs Tommy John surgery…

    ..he also needs a shave; that dead animal on his grill can’t be smelling too good.

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