ST LOUIS -- Jason Motte ran onto the field on Tuesday with a minute to spare for warmups and he laughed and joked with teammates once there. If there was ever doubt that Motte's return to the Cardinals' bullpen was simply about depth, his manager made things clear.
"I think what it adds is more leadership," manager Mike Matheny said. "It takes some heat off Randy Choate, who sometimes feels like a KinderCare teacher is what he says. They have a lot of fun down there, too, and there's a sense of that that Motte brings."
Motte was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to Tuesday's series opener against Arizona after missing all of last season and the first 44 games this year while recovering from Tommy John surgery. To make room for the 31-year old right-hander, the Cardinals optioned Sam Freeman to Triple-A Memphis.
The veteran Motte joins a bullpen seeking depth and experience. Motte has plenty of the latter, closing out the 2011 World Series for the Cardinals. He rejoins St. Louis after six scoreless rehab appearances between Double-A and Triple-A and a successful bullpen session on Sunday with no ill effects.
Expectations for a role have been absent. The first step is simply returning.
"I need to prove that I can go out there and get guys out," Motte said. "Like I said, coming back from this, there's so many questions that are unknown. So it's one of those things I've got to get out there and prove I can go out there and do it."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.