When Cardinals closer Jason Motte went down late last month after a poor spring, the team termed his injury a “mild strain” in his right elbow. Following a followup MRI on Tuesday, things sound much more ominous:
With young gun Trevor Rosenthal and interim closer Mitchell Boggs in the fold and plenty of bullpen depth, the Cardinals are pretty well set up to handle Motte’s absence. Not to say that he won’t be missed. The 30-year-old Motte has posted ERAs under 3.00 three straight seasons, and he finished with 42 saves in 49 chances last year. Plus, the news comes right on the heels of Boggs giving up seven runs in what had been a tie game with the Reds on Monday.
Mets left-hander Jason Vargas has a non-displaced fracture of the hamate bone in his right hand, the team announced Sunday. Vargas sustained the injury after taking a comebacker off of his hand on Friday and is expected to consult with a hand specialist later today as the team settles on a course of action. Comments from GM Sandy Alderson indicate that surgery is a possibility, though the left-hander may also pitch through it for the time being.
Vargas, 35, signed a two-year, $16 million pact with the team last month. He completed a four-year run with the Royals in 2017, earning his first career All-Star nomination with an 18-11 record in 32 starts and producing a 4.16 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 6.7 SO/9 over 179 2/3 innings. Prior to the incident, the southpaw was expected to help fill out the back end of the Mets’ Opening Day rotation.
Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News estimates that Vargas will likely miss the start of the season as he faces a two- to six-week recovery period. It’s a disappointing turn of events for a pitching staff that has been absolutely ravaged by injuries over the last couple of years.