St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Jason Motte fields grounders at spring training baseball, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) By Julio Cortez
JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 24: Jason Motte #30 of the St. Louis Cardinals during Photo Day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 24, 2011 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) By Mike Ehrmann
JUPITER, Fla. – Cardinals closer Jason Motte knows just one speed: fast.
The always energetic closer doesn’t usually ease into things. And despite having an extra week of Spring Training due to the World Baseball Classic, he doesn’t plan to switch anything up this spring.
Motte, who throws his first warm-up pitch as hard as his last, said he’s approaching spring training this year the same way he has in previous years. And that’s somewhat notable considering he saved every game for the Cardinals last season and was rewarded with a new two-year contract extension.
“My whole thing is when I’m out there, whether it’s throwing a bullpen or a live BP, I go out there and do it at one speed,” Motte said. “Especially if you’re throwing live BP, you can’t mess around. You have hitters out there and the other day Ryan Jackson hit a liner back at me. These guys are up there swinging and we’re throwing real baseballs and they are using real bats so we don’t have a chance to just ease it up there. These guys will smoke one back at you.
“I go out there and I work the same way and if I need to back off I’ll back off by maybe talking to Lilly and saying I may not need to throw today and take it easy, but I go about it the same way every year.”
Motte tied for the National League lead with 42 saves last season after taking over the closers role late in the 2011 season. The hard-throwing righty posted a 2.75 ERA in 67 games, the third consecutive season he’s had a ERA under 3.