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After two-inning outing, Motte close to activation

After two-inning outing, Motte close to activation

ST. LOUIS -- Jason Motte returned to St. Louis on Friday to participate in a local charity event. He just might hang around this time, too.

The Cardinals will monitor Motte through Saturday and then make a decision as to whether he needs to return to Triple-A Memphis to continue a rehab assignment or if he is ready to come off the disabled list and rejoin the big league bullpen. Because Motte threw two innings Thursday, he would not be activated from the DL until, at the earliest, Sunday.

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"We'll see these next couple of days what they have in store for me as far as the way I feel and what the plan is," Motte said, after playing catch in the outfield Friday. "Each step that we've taken, each test that we've had, I've been able to wake up the next day and go throw and do my normal stuff. … We're slowly moving forward and seeing what these next few days hold."

The two-inning test Thursday was a first for Motte, who had not made a multiple-inning appearance since Game 3 of the 2012 National League Championship Series. Seven months later, Motte underwent Tommy John surgery, which cost him the 2013 season and the first part of this year.

Motte threw 31 pitches (18 strikes) in his appearance Thursday. He allowed a leadoff single before retiring six straight. He struck out two and said his fastball velocity was sitting at 94-96 mph.

"I felt good," Motte said. "I was able to go out there and throw my fastball when I wanted to. I was able to elevate it when I wanted to. I was able to throw my cutter in on guys when I wanted to. I was happy with the way it went yesterday."

Motte's fastball velocity has not returned to pre-surgery highs, though Motte calls that a non-concern.

"It would be great to be at 98, 99 [mph], but I learned a long time ago that it really doesn't matter how hard you throw," he said. "It's where you throw it and what you throw and how you execute your pitches."

Motte has time remaining in a 30-day rehab assignment to make additional appearances in the Minors, should the Cardinals choose to have him do so. He has had six outings -- four in Double-A, two in Triple-A -- since beginning the rehab stint. Combined, Motte has pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings with five strikeouts.

"He said he continues to kind of check off the boxes set for him," manager Mike Matheny said. "That's really what you have to do. A couple innings is an important step to take and he passed that, and it just depends on how he feels today."

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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