On Friday the Cardinals learned that closer Jason Motte will most likely start the season on the DL and now the club is concerned with the progression of outfielder Carlos Beltran and third baseman David Freese. An MRI exam confirmed that Motte sustained a mild strain of the flexor tendon in his right elbow. The injury has shut him down indefinitely. Mitchell Boggs was named the closer in Motte’s absence.
This injury could keep Motte out a longtime. Nick Punto, the former Cardinals reserve infielder, missed about six weeks with the same injury in 2011. However, Minnesota pitcher Scott Baker lost the full 2012 season after requiring surgery to clear scar tissue from that tendon. Baker, trying to make a comeback with the Cubs, will miss the start of the season after having a setback.
Beltran, with his right toe injury has not played since returning from the World Baseball Classic. He played in a minor league game on Sunday for five innings. While he batted 32 times in the WBC, the Cardinals are more concerned about getting Beltran work in the outfield. Freese didn’t play on Sunday after his back stiffened up. Freese has played on and off since hurting his tailbone when he fell into the stands going after a foul ball on March 4.