Cards' Motte throws again, reports no setbacks as surgery looms wire reports

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Motte threw for the second straight day as a deadline neared for determining whether he could pitch with a partially torn ligament in his elbow.

"I woke up this morning and didn't take a step back," Motte said Sunday. "It felt good. If it didn't feel good I don't think we'd have moved forward."

The team said in early April that if Motte's condition hadn't improved by the beginning of May he likely would undergo reconstructive surgery. Motte said he felt fine after throwing from 60 feet, increasing the distance about 15 feet from the first day while still not "heave-hoeing it."

"I'm not in there like it's midseason or like I normally would be this time of the season, like you know, chucking balls," Motte said.

He planned on playing catch again Monday unless there was a setback but realized that he would need significant progress soon.

"If it's June and I'm not chucking, we need to do something," Motte said.

The 30-year-old Motte didn't think pitching with a torn ligament was potentially that outlandish, given that doctors don't know what a normal elbow looks like.

"What we do baseball-wise crushes it every single throw," Motte said. "The amount of tension and pressure put on the elbow ligament that should rip every single time.

"Some guys may be throwing with what I have going on, some guys may be throwing with worse."

Manager Mike Matheny didn't watch Motte throw and said he wouldn't be watching for a while. Nor would he be asking Motte daily how he was feeling because the closer is getting enough of that already.

"I want them to stick to the program and not try to turn it up for spectators," Matheny said. "I've been there before and the constant 'How do you feel today? How do you feel today? How do you feel today?' just wears you out, it really does.

"They're going to get enough of it from other people, I'm not going to add to it."

Matheny said that to reporters, adding "It's your job."

The bullpen has struggled without Motte, who had all 42 of the Cardinals' saves last year. Edward Mujica has emerged lately with four saves in four chances after Mitchell Boggs failed and overall St. Louis was just 6 for 12.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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