Jason Motte injury: Cardinals reliever set to return to St. Louis

USA TODAY Sports

After 14 months of recovery, Motte is ready to pitch again.

Dust off the applesauce jokes, Jason Motte is returning to the Cardinals bullpen after a 14-month recovery from Tommy John surgery. He is expected to be activated on Tuesday, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"Whenever the phone rings I’m going to get going and go out there and get guys out. If it’s Tuesday or Wednesday or whenever it is."

The 31-year-old will not return to his former role as the team's closer. Manager Mike Matheny is likely to bring Motte along slowly as far as high-leverage situations go. Trevor Rosenthal is expected to be the club's long-term closer despite the fact that he has a 4.98 ERA and has walked over 14 percent of the hitters he has faced.

While Motte isn't likely to save many games, he could be extremely helpful to a Cardinals bullpen that ranks 22nd in the league in pen ERA so far. In 260 career innings, Motte has posted a 2.87 ERA with 273 strikeouts and 77 walks. In 2012, his only full season as St. Louis' closer, he saved a league-leading 42 games.

If he can return to form, Motte could serve as an effective bridge between the middle innings and St. Louis' one-two punch of Carlos Martinez and Rosenthal.

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