Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Motte Faces Surgery If Elbow Does Not Respond

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Motte Faces Surgery If Elbow Does Not Respond

Article excerpt

If his right elbow does not respond to rest and ongoing treatment by the end of this month, Cardinals closer Jason Motte will be scheduled for ligament replacement surgery and miss the entire season.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak announced the May 1 deadline after damage in Motte's ligament was confirmed Tuesday during a followup visit with the team's physician. A magnetic resonance imaging scan and ultrasound taken of Motte's forearm and elbow allowed the doctor to look beneath Motte's strained flexor tendon and clearly see damage to the ligament. The righty has a Grade 1 tear of the ligament and if it does not respond to treatment within three weeks Tommy John surgery will be likely. The MRI was reviewed by several doctors, including the Cardinals' physician Dr. George Paletta, and surgery is not the immediate recommendation but a possibly outcome, Mozeliak said.

The timetable has some urgency attached to it because recovering from Tommy John surgery often takes a pitcher 12 months, and the Cardinals do not want to extend Motte's absence too far into 2014, the last year of his contract.

"Timing does matter," Mozeliak said. "The longer this drags out, you're really starting to multiply what is going to happen (during) next year's season as far as missed time. We don't want this to be something that ends up being a July- or August-type situation."

Surgery arrives as an option for Motte a day after the Cardinals' bullpen imploded during a 13-4 loss. Mitchell Boggs, who set a franchise record with 34 holds last season, has inherited the ninth, and rookie Trevor Rosenthal has moved into the eighth. Both struggled in Monday's loss.

Mike Matheny repeated Tuesday that he has no plan to change the assignments in the bullpen, but he did allow that he has other options, such as righty Fernando Salas, who led the team with 24 saves in 2011.

"We have faith in these guys and the only way to prove your faith to them is to give them opportunities," Matheny said. "As we try to figure this out and get our bullpen going right now we're going to need everybody pulling in the same direction. …

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