Ottavino spent much of the second half of the season rehabilitating from a shoulder injury, and recently threw a simulated game. When it appeared that the Cardinals might not have enough pitching to make it through the season's final week, Ottavino was activated from the disabled list to pitch in case of emergency. The emergency never came, though, so Ottavino will go into the winter without having gotten in a game since July 3.
"Four starters in a row pitched outstanding, got us deep in the game, so we're protected," manager Tony La Russa said. "I will be reluctant to put him out there unless I have no choice. He was throwing under control during that thing. He was probably throwing in the 80s. He gets out there today, you think he's going to [do that]? He's going to rear back and fire. I want to try to avoid that."
Ottavino understood the decision, and is pleased with his condition as he goes into the offseason. He'll have to do some extra work, but he does not expect to have a winter of rehabilitation.
"I'm trying to keep it as normal as possible, but I don't think I can ever really slack off in what I'm trying to do," he said. "I'm trying to make sure I keep everything strong and not get completely too comfortable. I feel good, but it's just adding to my list of things that I need to do ever year."