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Cardinals reliever Jason Motte shut down until at least May 1

Cardinals close Jason Motte could need Tommy John surgery. (Brad Mangin/MLB/Getty Images) Cardinals close Jason Motte could need Tommy John surgery. (Brad Mangin/MLB/Getty Images)

An MRI on St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Jason Motte revealed a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and he will be shut down until at least May 1, reports MLB.com.

Motte, who led the National League in saves last season, felt tightness in the elbow after appearing in a spring training game on March 21, and hasn't pitched since. The Cardinals placed him on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 22.

If the elbow does not get any better, Motte could have Tommy John surgery. Mitchell Boggs is taking over the closer role while Motte is sidelined.

“Tomorrow, we’ll be able to compare where we were to where we are,” Motte said on Monday. “From there, we’ll move forward with what they’ll let me do or not do. If they say everything looks fine, we’ll move on from there. It just depends on what they say I need or don’t need.”

Motte signed a two-year deal in January after he went 4-5 with a 2.75 ERA, 42 saves and 86 strikeouts in 2012. He is set to make $4.5 million this season and $7.5 million in 2014.

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