ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals closer Jason Motte threw for the first time in five weeks Saturday, a step toward determining if he will need season-ending surgery on his right elbow.
The Cardinals set a May 1 deadline to decide whether he will require elbow-reconstruction surgery after an MRI in early April revealed a low-grade tear in a ligament. Motte said his 35-40 light tosses from about 45 feet before St. Louis' game against Pittsburgh won't provide the final determination.
"I felt great. I didn't feel this, didn't feel that," said Motte, who was injured late in spring training. "I think the big thing is seeing how I feel (Sunday)."
Motte signed a two-year, $12 million contract during the offseason after earning 42 saves for St. Louis last year. He took over the roll late in 2011 and helped solidify a bullpen that struggled throughout the season before winning the World Series championship.
Motte used a regular pitching motion to see how the arm would react to pressure and tension. He said surgery might still be required but his body's reaction to the tossing will help determine if the May 1 deadline can be delayed.
"If we can avoid surgery, that's the ultimate best option," he said. "But if it's going to happen than it's going to be what it's going to be. If surgery was the only option, we would have done it March 23. We wouldn't have waited all this time."