St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Motte will undergo Tommy John surgery early next week to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament, the team reported on Friday. The surgery will cause Motte to miss the remainder of the season.
The surgery is disappointing news for the right-handed reliever, as Motte appeared to be on the road to recovery from a torn ligament in his right elbow. Motte had begun to play catch and reportedly felt no discomfort in his arm after throwing twice last week.
Motte started closing games for the Cardinals late in 2011, and proved effective in that role last season. The converted catcher saved 42 games last season for St. Louis in 49 opportunities. Motte struck out 10.75 batters per nine innings last year in 72 innings, and posted a 2.75 ERA.
St. Louis struggled to replace Motte in the closer role earlier this season. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny attempted to use Mitchell Boggs in that role, but the right-hander struggled, blowing two of his four save opportunities. St. Louis demoted Boggs to Triple-A earlier on Friday, and promoted prospect Carlos Martinez to the team's bullpen.
Edward Mujica has since moved into the closer role, and has enjoyed more success than Boggs. Mujica has successfully converted all seven of his save opportunities and owns a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings.