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.
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.