Jason Motte delivers a scoreless inning in his first rehab appearance at AAA Memphis

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Jason Motte — who needed Tommy John elbow surgery last spring and had to miss the entire 2013 season — is very close to rejoining the Cardinals.

According to Jim Hayes of FOX Sports Midwest, the right-hander threw a scoreless inning on 14 pitches Tuesday afternoon in his first appearance with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. He struck out three batters in four scoreless appearances for Double-A Springfield before shifting his minor league rehab assignment this week to the Triple-A level.

Motte is scheduled to pitch for Memphis again on Thursday and could be activated from the disabled list next week. He’ll pitch in a setup role initially but might quickly become a backup option at closer for the Cardinals. St. Louis’ current ninth-inning man, Trevor Rosenthal, is 10-for-10 in save opportunities but has an ugly 4.96 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 16 1/3 frames.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.