"Your job is to try and plan and deal with things," Mozeliak said. "But as you thought about how we planned this offseason, we felt pretty good about our ninth, eighth and seventh innings. Now we're going to have to reshuffle. When you think about the last few years, we felt pretty good about our bullpen going in because there wasn't injuries. Now we have an injury. Clearly, when you lose your closer, it's not easy shoes to fill."
Tuesday's MRI provided the first indication that the ligament in Motte's throwing arm had been compromised. When he was shut down from throwing after his March 21 Grapefruit League appearance, it was determined that he had sustained a strain of his flexor tendon muscle. Inflammation from that injury concealed the ligament tear until now.
While he would have preferred a more promising prognosis, Motte said he did find some relief in at least getting some clarity as to why he continued to feel discomfort during some of his range-of-motion exercises. As for the possibility of surgery, Motte hasn't dwelled on that just yet.
"It's kind of out of my hands, honestly," Motte said. "We're doing everything we can to get it better. You think about it, but it is what it is. If I have to, I have to. There's nothing I can do about it. I have to put faith in that everything is going to go all right."
At the recommendation of head physician George Paletta, Motte has been prescribed three more weeks of rest. If he does not improve to the point where he can resume a throwing program by May 1, then surgery becomes the likely course of action.
"Realistically, we want to be optimistic with this," Mozeliak said. "But we also have to understand that now we are talking about surgery, which, three weeks ago, was not something we felt was on the table. Understanding the bandwidth of outcomes here, how we think about moving forward, I think it's all hands on deck. I don't think we'll rule anything out at this point."
Putting a limit on how long the Cardinals will wait to see improvement is necessary in order to ensure that Motte isn't lost for this season and much of 2014, as well. The recovery time for pitchers who undergo Tommy John surgery is typically 12-15 months, meaning that the earlier Motte were to have a procedure, the more time he'd salvage next season.
In January, the Cardinals signed Motte to a two-year, $12 million extension. He will be a free agent when that contract ends after the 2014 season.
"We're still going to be optimistic until they tell us differently," manager Mike Matheny said. "We'll have to be patient and watch him go through the rehab process and hopefully we'll get some good news and we'll see him playing some catch here soon, which would be something to look forward to. "