Motte will not pitch this season

News-DemocratMay 3, 2013 

St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Motte will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery next week, multiple media outlets reported Friday.

The Cardinals also announced that they have purchased the contract of highly touted pitching prospect Carlos Martinez, 21, and optioned struggling reliever Mitchell Boggs to Class AAA Memphis.

Martinez, wearing No. 62, was in uniform Friday and pitched a scoreless seventh inning while making his major-league debut.

Martinez, who missed all of spring training after experiencing visa issues in his native Dominican Republic, is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in three starts at Class AA Springfield. He has walked one and struck out nine in 11 2/3 innings.

Martinez is rated the third-best prospect in the Cardinals' minor-league system by Baseball America and was recognized for having the organization's best curveball. He is 16-12 with a 2.74 ERA in 55 career minor-league games, 54 of them starts.

The 6-foot, 185-pound Martinez was a combined 6-5 between high-Class A Palm Beach and Springfield last season.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Martinez, the Cardinals moved shortstop Rafael Furcal from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Furcal is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Motte, meanwhile, was placed on the disabled list with a strained right elbow March 29. He later was diagnosed with a ligament tear.

The Cardinals initially delayed a decision on whether Motte would undergo surgery, and he was playing catch on the Cardinals' recent homestand.

Motte said Tuesday that the elbow had responded well to his latest throwing session, which included tosses from 60 to 90 feet. But when Motte threw again Friday in Milwaukee, he did not feel comfortable.

"Obviously, we were hopeful and thought maybe he could rehab through this, but after throwing today, he just realized it's not getting any better," Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said on stlcardinals.com. "He was making gradual process, but what ended up happening as we started to push him more and demand more from him, today he just got to the point where he couldn't go any further."

Motte saved 42 games for the Cardinals last season, his first as a full-time closer. No other Cardinals pitcher recorded a save in 2012. Motte finished 4-5 with a 2.75 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 72 innings.

Without him this season, St. Louis initially turned to Boggs in save situations, but Boggs couldn't handle the assignment. Edward Mujica has since taken over the closer's role and he converted seve of his first seven save opportunities.

Boggs, who issued walks to the only two batters he faced Thursday in the Cardinals' 6-5 victory in Milwaukee, allowed 17 hits and walked 12, permitting 15 earned runs and an opponents' batting average of .362. Boggs was 0-2 with a 12.66 ERA in 14 games and 10 2/3 innings.

"I still think we have a lot of talent in that bullpen, but clearly, we have to find the right combination that becomes more effective," Mozeliak said. "You don't want to have an inning like we did last night where you have to use three pitchers to get three outs. That's just not efficient.

"I feel like we're going to the same couple guys every night to do that, and my fear is we're going to wear out a Rosie (rookie right-hander Trevor Rosenthal) or a Mujica," he said. "That's what we have to be careful of. Making changes is part of what happens when you're struggling."

Earlier this week, the Cardinals optioned left-hander Marc Rzepczynski to Memphis, replacing him on the roster with Seth Maness.

The Cardinals also announced Friday that slugging first baseman Matt Adams, sidelined by a strained right oblique, would begin a minor-league rehab at Class AA Springfield. That rehab assignment was delayed when Springfield was rained out Friday.

Adams is expected to rejoin the Cardinals on Tuesday or Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

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