Motte likely to begin season on DL; Boggs to close

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Cardinals announced on Saturday that closer Jason Motte will likely begin the season on the disabled list after being diagnosed with a mild muscle flexor strain.

After throwing a pain-free inning against the Mets on Thursday, Motte said his right forearm tightened up on the bus ride back to the Cardinals’ complex. He alerted the medical staff that afternoon and then underwent a magnetic resonance imaging test on Friday when he returned with his arm still stiff.

That exam identified the strain and prompted the Cardinals to shut Motte down indefinitely. General manager John Mozeliak said there is no timetable for how long Motte will be sidelined or nor a precise plan for what the rehab process will entail.

“We’re certainly going to be as aggressive as we can with the rehab, but in terms of DL, I would say that’s likely going to happen,” Mozeliak said. “Fingers were crossed that it would be something that wouldn’t land him on the DL, but it likely will.

With Motte sidelined, the Cardinals will hand the closer duties over to Mitchell Boggs, who was the team’s set-up man last season. The development also means that both Joe Kelly and Shelby Miller are likely to be on the team’s Opening Day roster. The two remain in competition for the fifth rotation spot. Whoever doesn’t win the job is expected to slide into a bullpen spot.

“I have to keep my spirits up as far as staying positive, trying to do what I need to do to get myself back out there,” said Motte.

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