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Motte heading to Florida to continue rehab

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ST. LOUIS -- Jason Motte traveled to St. Louis this weekend to participate in the Cardinals' Winter Warm-Up and to accept the Darryl Kile Award at Sunday's annual St. Louis Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) Dinner. On Monday, he'll be relocating to Florida to continue his rehab work.

Motte, who has spent the offseason at his Memphis home, will report to the Cardinals' Jupiter, Fla., complex several weeks early so that he can work alongside assistant athletic trainer Adam Olsen as he continues to rebuild arm strength from Tommy John surgery. After taking a respite from throwing (as was prescribed in his program), Motte will resume playing catch this week.

As for a timetable for his return to game play, Motte won't yet speculate that far in advance. What is known, though, is that he'll participate in a modified Spring Training program and won't be ready to break camp with the club.

"You don't want to rush it to get it back," Motte said. "Then we're not doing anything but hurting me, hurting everyone else. We have some pretty good guys down there [in the bullpen], so it's not like they're really hurting. … I just need to take my time and get healthy and get where I can go out there and help the team win. Me rushing to do anything isn't going to help anyone."

Tommy John surgery typically comes with a recovery time of 12-15 months. Motte underwent the procedure in early May 2013.

When he does return, Motte knows that his closer's job will not be waiting for him. The Cardinals have already tapped Trevor Rosenthal as their ninth-inning guy for the 2014 season. Motte, assuming he comes back healthy and strong, is expected to slide into a setup role.

"Look at what he's done the whole time he's been up here," Motte said of Rosenthal. "This really isn't a surprise that he was able to go out there and pitch the way he did. … I get [the decision] 100 percent."

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.

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