Jason Motte doesn’t expect to be ready for the season

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Jason Motte is coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery, but the former Cardinals closer said yesterday that he doesn’t expect to be healthy in time for Opening Day.

Motte told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that being game ready by then would be “a push” in part because of some recent shoulder issues that slowed his rehab. He’ll be about 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery when the season starts.

Motte also told Goold that he’d rather test his readiness on a minor-league rehab assignment than be at less than full strength in the majors, saying he wouldn’t want to limit the Cardinals’ bullpen options by only being available every other day or not being trusted in key spots early on.

In other words, don’t expect to see Motte back in St. Louis before May.