CHICAGO • Cardinals closer Jason Motte had elbow surgery today, ending his season and beginning a long rehab that could extend into next spring.
Motte had Tommy John surgery performed in St. Louis by the Cardinals team physician Dr. George Paletta at Mercy Hospital. The surgery went as expected, according to a team official.
The ligament transplant procedure was necessary to repair a torn ligament within Motte's right elbow.
The standard recovery from the surgery is about 12 months.
Motte tied for the National League lead with 42 saves last season. He felt discomfort in his right elbow in late March after throwing against the New York Mets in an exhibition game.
A recent attempt to rehab the injury through a throwing program was not effective as the pain returned as Motte attempted to intensify his throws. Motte was diagnosed with a slight tear of the ligament.
In the past three seasons, the Cardinals have had ace Adam Wainwright and Class AAA reliever Sam Freeman return successfully from Tommy John surgery. Minor-league righty Jordan Swagerty also had Tommy John surgery and his rehab is ongoing at the team's facility in Jupiter.
Shortstop Rafael Furcal had Tommy John surgery during spring training to repair a tear in his elbow. He, like Motte, will not play this season.
Motte signed a two-year, $12-million contract in January in extends through the 2014 season.