Now Commenting On:

Motte impresses in return to the mound

Cards reliever delivers 1 2/3 scoreless innings in win over D-backs

Motte impresses in return to the mound play video for Motte impresses in return to the mound

ST. LOUIS -- Jason Motte had just offered a fist pump, celebrating a relay play that ended with catcher Yadier Molina preserving a tie game by tagging Ender Inciarte out at home to close the 10th inning. The batterymates -- reunited on the field for the first time since 2012 -- then met on their way to the dugout, finishing that walk together, Molina's arm over Motte's shoulder.

There was a chest pat, a smile and then a few words.

"I'm glad to have you back," Molina said, as recalled by Motte.

Motte can indeed now be considered officially back, ending a 19-month absence during which he underwent and rehabbed from Tommy John surgery. Having last thrown a meaningful pitch in Game 7 of the 2012 National League Championship Series, Motte threw 15 in a 1 2/3-inning appearance in Wednesday's 3-2 win over Arizona.

It was his first outing since being activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, and those who remained from a crowd of 40,542 at Busch Stadium welcomed Motte in from the bullpen in the 10th with a standing ovation.

"Running out, I tried to keep my head down," Motte said. "I heard it all coming from the bullpen. It reminded me kind of like the [2011] World Series, coming into Game 7. I kept my head down, took it in a little bit. I tried to calm down a little bit, tried to breathe a little bit because in that situation you can't go out there and be out of control."

He entered with a runner on first, one out and threw three straight balls to Chris Owings before getting him to fly out with the count full. Paul Goldschmidt then ripped a cutter to left, though Motte would be bailed out by a terrific Matt Holliday-Daniel Descalso-Molina relay play.

Manager Mike Matheny sent Motte back out for the 11th, and the right-hander retired the side in order. He closed the appearance with a strikeout.

"It looked like he was pitching," Matheny said. "He was not just rearing back letting it fly as hard as he possibly can. I thought he did a real nice job. We needed him right there, it was big."

Motte's fastball velocity sat at 92-93 mph -- a notably lower velocity than what he was throwing pre-surgery. His strikeout came when Martin Prado swung through an 88-mph cutter.

"I learned a long time it's not what you throw, it's where you throw it," Motte said. "I was just trying to go out there and locate."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español