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Motte not only closes the door, he locks up a job

The Sports Xchange

Jason Motte, given the closer's job late last month, has knocked off seven saves in his first seven tries. He's been scored on in only one of his last 27 outings and has given up an earned run in only one of 39 appearances since June 23.

Mostly a setup man in his first three seasons in the majors, Motte, a former light-hitting minor league catcher, has made the transition to the ninth inning a rather seamless one.

And appearances are that he is good enough that the Cardinals won't have to go outside the organization this offseason to get a closer for 2012.

"Motte's shown a lot composure in that ninth inning," manager Tony La Russa said. "He has not done anything different. He's just concentrating and making his pitches."

Motte said regular catcher Yadier Molina and backup Gerald Laird have more confidence in him throwing his cutter and two-seam fastball than when he simply was flinging his four-seam, 97 mph fastball. He has three pitches with which he can retire hitters now, after having only one before.

"They're calling (his other pitches) in counts when they would normally call a fastball," Motte said. "It's good they have the faith in me to call them."

Pertaining to his new role, Motte said: "I'm not really trying to look at it any different. Just try to attack the hitters and get every guy out that I can. One at a time."

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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