Jason Motte personally has witnessed gloomy forecasts for the rival St. Louis Cardinals after severe injuries to him and his former teammates.
That’s one reason why Motte, now a reliever with the Chicago Cubs, isn’t counting the Cardinals out in the National League Central race.
“You never expect it. but when it does happen, guys came up and step up,” Motte said Sunday in the wake of a season-threatening left Achilles injury suffered Saturday night by Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. “They do a good job of playing with the 25 guys they have, and those 25 guys come up and step up and play good ball.”
Also, Motte points to the support and knowledge that those injured players provided to their younger teammates. Wainwright missed 2011 after surgery on his right elbow, and Chris Carpenter missed all of the 2003 seasoon and most of the 2007, 2008 and 2012 seasons because of injuries.
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Motte missed the 2013 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but the Cardinals went on to win the National League title.
“Guys don’t sit in the corner and say, ‘poor me, I’m hurt,’” Motte said. “We were the biggest cheerleaders on the entire team. We were cheering those guys on. That rubbed off on guys, and it didn’t matter if you were the No. 1 guy on the team or the 25th guy on the team. That’s the way you need to do, go out there and cheer for your teammates.”
When Motte was injured, Edward Mujica took over and earned NL All-Star honors with a 2.78 ERA in 65 games before Trevor Rosenthal emerged later that season.
“That’s the thing,” Motte said. “Guys come in and step up. That’s what good teams do. That’s what it’s all about, and that’s how you win.”