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.