Saturday, March 23, 2013

2013 Closer Update: St. Louis Cardinals

posted by Jon Williams

St. Louis Cardinals
  Disabled – Jason Motte
  Acting Closer – Mitchell Boggs
Next - Trevor Rosenthal
Super-Sleeper – Fernando Salas

 Closer Jason Motte is likely to open the season on the 15-Day Disabled List due to what is being called a mild elbow strain. An MRI revealed no damage to the ligament but a slight tear to the tendon. General Manager John Mozeliak declared that Mitchell Boggs would be the interim closer with Trevor Rosenthal likely to move into the set-up role.

Motte, who became the Cardinals closer late in 2011, tied for the National League lead with 42 saves last season.

The righty last pitched Thursday. He threw an inning against the Mets. His final pitch of a scoreless inning was 97 mph.

He felt stiffness in his right elbow on the bus ride returning from Port St. Lucie, Fla. Motte described how the elbow felt sore as he reached for his cell phone and that led him to the trainers' room when he got back to the Jupiter complex.

"It tightened up a little bit in my forearm," Motte said. "I felt fine out there (on the mound). It says it's a little muscle strain, it's a little tight. I did all my arm stuff afterward (and) felt fine. I don't know if it was the adrenaline or whatever but I didn't feel anything when I was throwing."

The team has attacked the inflammation in the elbow with the usual treatments, Motte said: ice, stimulation, and some anti-inflammatory medicine.

It had increased by Friday morning, when the team then took him for an MRI of the joint. That was when the tear was discovered. The initial treatment is to tame the inflammation in the joint so that a clearer sense of the damage can be measured.
Jason Motte has been drafted as a top 4-5 closer in many early leagues. He gives his owners more innings than the typical closer thanks to his frequent use in the eighth inning. He throws in the high 90s with excellent control and an improving swinging strike rate and K9 rate. He is as locked into the role as any closer can be these days. His manager seems to have a great deal of faith in him and he has delivered nearly every time. 
Mitchell Boggs is a hard throwing right-hander with a mid-90s fastball. He has an average Swinging Strike Rate and a middling K9 for a potential closer. He has ok control and induces a high rate of groundballs (career 52.4 percent). His career high for saves is four gained during the 2011 season..

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