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Cards closer Motte works for first time in five weeks

Motte saved a career-high 42 games in 2012, striking out 86 batters in 72 innings while allowing just 17 walks. (Associated Press)
Motte saved a career-high 42 games in 2012, striking out 86 batters in 72 innings while allowing just 17 walks. (Associated Press)

Cardinals closer Jason Motte threw for the first time in five weeks Saturday, a step toward determining if he will need season-ending surgery on his right elbow.

The Cardinals set a Wednesday deadline to decide whether he will require elbow-reconstruction surgery after an MRI in early April revealed a low-grade tear in a ligament. Motte said his 35-40 light tosses from about 45 feet before St. Louis’ game against Pittsburgh won’t provide the final determination.

Motte signed a two-year, $12 million contract during the offseason after earning 42 saves for St. Louis last year. He took over the roll late in 2011 and helped solidify a bullpen that struggled throughout the season before winning the World Series championship.

Nova, Cervelli on DL

The banged-up New York Yankees put pitcher Ivan Nova on the 15-day disabled list because of inflammation in his right triceps.

The Yankees made the move before yesterday’s game against Toronto. Catcher Francisco Cervelli had surgery on his broken right hand and went on the 15-day DL.

The Yankees recalled catcher Austin Romine from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and also signed and selected lefty reliever Vidal Nuno. Shortstop Derek Jeter, out until after the All-Star break because of an injured ankle, was transferred to the 60-day DL to make room on the roster.

Kevin Youkilis returned to New York’s lineup after missing six games because of tightness in his lower back.

Clearing the bases

The Toronto Blue Jays expect right-hander Josh Johnson to return to the rotation late next week. Johnson was scratched from a start Friday night because of tightness in his right triceps. … Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jose Molina left the game against the Chicago White Sox in the fourth inning after getting hit in the right knee with a pitch from Hector Santiago. Molina was checked at home plate by Rays manager Joe Maddon and head trainer Ron Porterfield and went to first base. Before the next pitch, Molina was replaced by backup Jose Lobaton. … Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius is feeling soreness after being hit in the helmet by a pitch in Friday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies, and did not play Saturday. … The Mets optioned struggling reliever Josh Edgin to Double-A Binghamton, opening a roster spot for pitcher Shaun Marcum to come off the disabled list. … Stephen Fife is going from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting rotation to the 15-day disabled list.

Tags: baseball