8/29/2014 8:46 P.M. ET
Motte throws again, pleased with progress
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- For the third time this week, Cardinals reliever Jason Motte took to the Busch Stadium bullpen mound to test his lower back, and he came away from Friday's session encouraged by his progress.
Motte threw between 30-35 pitches, just as he had two days earlier, while exerting himself to near max effort. Sidelined by a lower back strain since Aug. 2, Motte said afterward that "it felt good. There were no issues."
Motte's progress puts the Cardinals on the precipice of having to make a decision on what to have him do next. Motte will play catch on Saturday, after which the Cardinals could send him out to make an appearance in the Minors or set up a simulated game in St. Louis.
Motte noted that whatever the structure, he would like an opportunity to face hitters before returning from the disabled list. General manager John Mozeliak agreed, adding that the challenge is that the Double-A and Triple-A regular seasons are ending in four days. If Triple-A Memphis qualifies for the postseason, that would give the Cardinals additional time.
Robinson done for year after shoulder surgery
ST. LOUIS -- A season that included three demotions and a limited role when he was on the Major League roster has now been cut short for Shane Robinson, who underwent season-ending surgery on his left shoulder on Thursday.
The Cardinals made the announcement on Friday, four days after Robinson fractured a bone in his shoulder while sliding into second base. He had a similar injury four years earlier.
Offered the option of trying to rehab the shoulder, Robinson instead chose to have arthroscopic surgery. He will be in a sling for about four weeks but is expected to have a relatively normal offseason that will allow him to be ready for the start of the 2015 season.
"For him, this is probably the best thing to do," GM John Mozeliak said. "He probably could have tried to rehab, but it wouldn't have made long-term sense for his own career. Given where he's at, this is probably the smartest decision to deal with this now and allow him a full offseason to recover."
Robinson hit .150//227/.200 over 60 at-bats with the Cardinals, and went 4-for-26 as a pinch-hitter. He was most recently called back from Triple-A on Aug. 1. Robinson will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter.
"There have been a lot of times where we have been trying to figure something out around here, where we needed some help, needed an arm, needed to try and do something, and Shane seemed to be on the short end of it most of the time," manager Mike Matheny said. "He handled it great. Then this happened when we were trying to get him a couple opportunities. It's a bad turn for him."
Cards bringing back Gonzales for twin bill
ST. LOUIS -- With the opportunity to add a 26th player to the active roster for Saturday's doubleheader against the Cubs, the Cardinals have chosen to summon left-hander Marco Gonzales and have him make his fourth career start.
Gonzales will start the second of the two games, with right-hander Justin Masterson tapped to face Felix Doubront in the afternoon contest. Gonzales, 22, had been scheduled to start for Triple-A Memphis on Friday. He is ranked by MLB.com as the Cardinals' No. 3 prospect.
"He's had a nice run down in Memphis, and looking at our options without having to reshape our bullpen or shuffle it, being able to insert him for that one game made a lot of sense," general manager John Mozeliak said. "Being up for the first time, he can put that behind him and use that as a learning curve and take advantage of that. I think from how he's been pitching and been able to accomplish, he's obviously someone we felt confident and comfortable with giving him this start."
Gonzales made his Major League debut on June 25 and pitched three times for the Cardinals before returning to Memphis. None of his starts were longer than five innings, as he combined to allow 11 earned runs on 21 hits and 11 walks in 14 innings. Gonzales, the organization's first-round pick in the 2013 First-Year Draft, is still seeking his first big league win.
Since the demotion, Gonzales has gone 4-1 with a 3.35 ERA in eight Triple-A starts. He has won four straight decisions and threw six scoreless innings in his most recent outing on August 24.
"He did a nice job while he was here," manager Mike Matheny said. "There were things we wanted to see him work on, and hopefully he's improved to make himself a little more well-rounded."
With Gonzales' Major League inexperience and Masterson's recent troubles, the Cardinals have protected themselves by keeping an extra pitcher on the roster for the doubleheader. Instead of returning to a five-man bench upon Yadier Molina's return, the Cardinals opted to retain an eight-man bullpen and send catcher Tony Cruz to Springfield for the final four days of the Double-A season.
Cards consider giving Wainwright extra rest
ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright will make his next scheduled start on Tuesday, but the Cardinals have not ruled out the possibility of building in extra rest for the right-hander if there are continued concerns of fatigue.
While Wainwright has downplayed a connection between his workload (464 2/3 innings since the start of 2013) and his second-half slide (3-5 with a 4.68 ERA and 1.94 strikeout-to-walk ratio), general manager John Mozeliak acknowledged that the two may not be entirely unrelated.
"I think there are a lot of people speculating on a lot of things going on with Adam," Mozeliak said on Friday. "Fatigue certainly could be a plausible answer. Going back to the All-Star break and not being able to take full advantage of that, to rolling into being how he's used, is something you can always look back at.
"If there is a way to getting him extra rest, we'll certainly have to consider it. But this time of year, the type of race we're in, it's going to be hard to do."
The Cardinals are not yet sold on adjusting Wainwright's September schedule and will see how he fares against the Pirates next week before making any decisions. If the Cardinals keep with their current rotation order, Wainwright is set to make another five starts before the end of the regular season.
• Mark Ellis (left oblique strain) will not be heading out on a Minor League rehab assignment, though the Cardinals are hopeful that the infielder will be ready to come off the disabled list next week. Manager Mike Matheny said that Ellis is doing tee work, but has not been cleared to start swinging without restriction due to some continued discomfort.
• General manager John Mozeliak suggested that the Cardinals will not make an external addition to their club before the end of the weekend, the deadline for a player to then be eligible for a postseason roster.
"I don't envision an 11th hour move at this point," Mozeliak said on Friday. "I think our 11th hour move was getting healthy."
• Catcher Cody Stanley and outfielder James Ramsey, now in the Indians' organization, were named to the Texas League Postseason All-Star team this week. At the time of the selection, Stanley ranked third in the league in batting average (.291) and fifth in slugging percentage (.439). He has 12 home runs and 42 RBIs for Springfield, the Cardinals' Double-A affiliate.
Ramsey played 67 games for Springfield before being swapped for Major Leaguer Justin Masterson in a Trade Deadline deal. Ramsey hit .300 with 13 homers, 14 doubles and 36 RBIs before the trade.
• In announcing its 2015 schedule, Triple-A Memphis revealed that the Cardinals will play an exhibition game in Memphis on April 3, two days before the Major League season opens. The Cardinals had an exhibition game scheduled at AutoZone Park to conclude Spring Training this year, but that contest was cancelled due to rain.
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.