Jason Motte’s comeback from Tommy John surgery is nearly complete, as the one-time Cardinals closer is finished with his minor-league rehab assignment and scheduled to rejoin the active roster Tuesday.
Motte won’t have his old closer gig waiting for him when he returns because Trevor Rosenthal isn’t giving that back anytime soon, but if healthy he could make a huge impact in a setup role. He missed the entire 2013 season, but Motte led the league with 42 saves in 2012 and combined from 2010-2012 he threw 192 innings with a 2.43 ERA and 203 strikeouts.
Expecting him to pick up right where he left off would be wishful thinking, but Motte tossed 6.2 scoreless innings on his rehab assignment and reports of his velocity have been fairly positive.
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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.
The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.
Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.
The matchups for Tuesday’s action:
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.
Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.
The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.