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.

Tyson Ross opts out of 2020 season

Tyson Ross opts out
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On Monday, Nationals pitcher Joe Ross became one of four players to opt out of the 2020 season due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, Joe’s brother Tyson Ross opted out of the 2020 season as well, per Jon Heyman.

Ross, 33, is currently a free agent. He racked up 35 1/3 disappointing innings for the Tigers last year, posting a 6.11 ERA with 25 strikeouts and 18 walks.

Mike Leake, Ryan Zimmerman, and Ian Desmond are the three other players to have opted out of the 2020 season thus far. None of these players are considered “high risk,” so they are forgoing their salaries and service time.