(BaseballStL) -- The next three weeks will be critical to the future of the bullpen and closer role for the St. Louis Cardinals after an MRI revealed not-so-great news for closer Jason Motte on Tuesday.
Shortly before the Cardinals took to the field against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, general manager John Mozeliak announced that the team has put a deadline of May 1 for Motte to show improvement. If not, he will likely undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the torn ligament in his elbow.
“He has to be asymptomatic when they do their tests on him. If he is, he’ll be cleared to throw,” Mozeliak said. “If he’s not, we’ll go back to having surgery back on the table.”
Mozeliak said he expects Motte to continue doing rehab exercises while resting in the meantime.
In response to whether the elbow injury to Motte is similar to shortstop Rafael Furcal, Mozeliak responded: “No, a little different. I still put it more in the classification of (Nick) Punto and (Skip) Schumaker, but clearly it’s a little different when you’re dealing with middle infielders versus a pitcher.
“Timing does matter because the longer this drags out, you’re really starting to just multiply what’s going to happen in next year’s season, as far as missed time. We don’t want that to be something where this ends up being a July or August situation.”
The news may sound devastating considering the mess the bullpen created in the 13-4 loss to the Reds the day before, but Mozeliak said it’s still early in the season to be concerned about Monday's results.
“In terms of how you deal with it longterm, I think it’s a little premature to start dealing with that. Obviously, the season just began," Mozeliak said. "Teams are starting to sort themselves out and we’re one of them.”
Three relievers (Trevor Rosenthal, Mitchell Boggs and Marc Rzepczynski) allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on eight hits and five walks in two innings pitched in the home-opener loss on Monday.